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/ 



SUMMER CRUISING IN 
THE SOUTH SEAS 



K 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR 
Post Sto, cloth, gilt top, 68. net. 

THE ISLAND OF 
TRANQUIL DELIGHTS 

" After a lapse of many years the author of * Summer 
Cruising in the South Seas ' presents the public with another 
series of South-Sea idyls. Of the first collection Emerson 
said — ' I do not think that one who can write so well vrill 
find it easy to leave oC The prophecy has come true. 
' Summer Cruising in the South Seas ' has become a classic 
in American literature, and the sequel bids fair to attain rank 
alongside of it. One might fitly describe it, in Mr. Kipling's 
words, as ' a very tropic of colour and fragrance.' There is 
a haunting quality about these idyls that must make them 
live in the hearts of sdl who read them. They are full of 
charming word-pictures and of exquisite touches which tell 
of dream life in foiryland— among the lightest, sweetest, 
wildest, freshest things that have been written about the life 
of these ' summer isles of Eden.* " — Glasgow herald, 

** A pretty book with a pretty title. Glimpses of Paradise 
he gives in these tropic pictures, and with something of 
idyllic grace he presents them.*' — Westminster Gazette, 
** Delightful sketches and stories," "Times, 
" Written in a leisurely style, and possessing a certain 
elusive atmospheric style of their own. . . . There is charm 
here, and that of a kind not often to be found in modem 
fiction. .\ . ' The Island of Tranquil Delights * should be 
Ttakd."'-'Standard, 

" Altogether charming. ... It is a book for quiet half- 
hours. "--Z^afVy Afail, 

' 'A delightful book — more thaii fascinating. After having 
read the book for the stories, one reads it again for the style. ' 
— Travellers* Magazine, 

"A eoUection of idealistic sketches. . . . The author 
conveys the languorous beauty of the region very vividly, 
and the book is attractive for the contrast that it ofifers to 
the familiar ways of civilisation.*' — Morning Post, 

Lokdon: CHATTO 4 WINDVS, xii St, Martin's Lane, W.q. 



SOUTH-SEA IDYLS 

SUMMER CRUISING IN 
THE SOUTH SEAS- 



CHARLES WARREN STODDARD 



A NEW IMPRESSION 



CHATTO & WINDUS 
■9»S 






r * 



J '* • 



• '^ ■ 









* « • 



t 



PEEFACB. 




HE experiences recorded in this yolnme are 
the result of four summer cruises among 
the islands of the Pacific. 
The simple and natural life of the islander beguiles 
me ; I am at home with him ; all the rites of sayage- 
dom find a responsiye echo in mj heart ; it is as though 
I recollected something long forgotten ; it is like a 
dream dimly remembered, and at last realized ; it 
must be that the untamed spirit of some aboriginal 
ancestor quickens mj blood. 

I haye sought to reproduce the atmosphere of a 
people who are wonderfully imaginatiye and emotional ; 
they nourish the first symptoms of an affiniiy, and reyel 
in the freshness of an affection as brief and blissful as a 
honeymoon. 



258433 



^ PREFACE, 

With them " love is enough," and it is not necessarily 
one with the sexual passion : their life is sensuous and 
picturesque, and is incapable of a true interpretation 
unless viewed from their own standpoint. 

To them our civilization is a cross, the blessed pro- 
mises of which are scarcely sufficient to compensate for 
the pain of bearing it, and they are inclined to look 
upon our backslidings with a spirit of profound for- 
bearance. 

Among them no laws are valid save Nature's own, 

but they abide faithfully by these. 

His lordship's threadbare New Zealander sitting upon 
a crumbling arch of London Bridge, recently restored, 
and finding too late that he had forestalled his mission, 
would know my feelings as I offer this plea for his 
tribe ; and any one who instinctively lags in the march 
of progress, and marks the decay of nature ; any one to 
whom the highly educated grasshopper is a burden, 
must see that my case is critical. 

Yet in imagination I may, at the shortest notice, 
return to the seagirt arena of my adventures, and 
restore my unregenerated soul. 

Limited flagons cannot stay me, neither will small 
apples comfort me ; I have eaten of the tree of Ufe, my 
spirit is full-fledged, and when I take wing I feel the 



PREFACE, ?a 

earih sinking beneaiih me ; ihe monntains cnimble, the 
clouds crouch under me, iihe waters rise and flow out to 
the horizon ; across mj breast the sunbeams brush, 
leaving half their gold behind them ; seas upofi seas 
fill up the hollow of the universe ; I soar into etemify, 
blue wastes below me, blue wastes above me. The stars 
only to mark the upper strata of space. 

Day after day I wing my tireless flight, and the past 
is forgotten in the radiance of the dawning ftiture. 

Land £^t l^st I A green islet sails within the compass 
of my vision : land at last ! Crumbs of earth, frag- 
ments of paradise, litter the broj^d sea like strewn leaves. 
A myriad reefs and shoals wreathe the blue hemi- 
sphere ; the moan of surfs rises like a grand anthem, 
the fragrance of tropic bowers ascends like incense ; I 
pause in my giddy flight, and sink into the bosom of 
the dusk. 

Sunset transfigures the earili; the woods are rosy 
with glowing bars of light ; long shadows float upon 
the waves like weeds ; gardens of sea grass rock for 
ever between daylight and darkness, tinted with change- 
ful lights. 

I know the songs of those distant lands ; there have I 
sought and found unbroken rest ; again I return to you? 
my beloved South, and aft;er many days of storm and 
1 



▼iii PREFACE. 

shine, I touch upon your glimmering sWes, flushed 
wiiih the renewal of my passionate love for you. 

Again I dive beneath your coral caves ; again I 
thread the sunless depths of your unfading forests ; and 
there, finally, I hope to fold my drooping wings, where 
the flowers breathe heavily and fountains tinkle within 
the solitude of your moonlit ivory chambers. 

Oh, literary death, where is thy sting, while this happy 
hunting-ground awaits me I 

In the singularly expressive tongue of my barbarian 
brother^ 

Aloha oe ! Love to you ! 



CONTENTS. 

> 

Fag* 

) nr THB dUDUi or ths deip •••••••13 

CHUMMINO WITH A SAVAQB :— - 

I. kanI-anX ..•••••• 29 

n. HOW I OOKVBRTKD MT CANNIBAL . « • • •45 

m. BABBABIAN DATS $6 

TABOO. — ^A Fftn DAT IN TAHITI ••••••• 76 

JOS or LAHAINA ••••••••• IO3 

THK HIOHT-DANCSBS OV WAIPIO • • • • • « • H? 

RABL-HUNTIKO IN THE POMOTOUS •••••• I33 

rVHE LABT or THI OBEAT NAVIOATOBX •••••• I54 

A canob obuisb in thb cobal sea •••••• 167 

UNDKB A 6BABB BOOr •••••••••I78 

MT SOUTH-fiBA SHOW .«••••••• 182 

VHB HOUBB or THB BYN •••••••• I98 



» 



k 



^ 



X CONTENTS. 

Pagt 

thx obafil ot thb palms •••«••• 21$ 

kabAli •••• 231. 

LOVB-Lm nr ▲ lanai 252 

IN A TRANSPORT 267 

A PRODIGAL IN TAHITI • • 287 

AN AFTBROLOW ••••^••••« 314 



THE COCOA-TREE. 

CAST on the water by a careless hand, 
Day after day the winds persuaded me: 
Onward I drifted till a coral tree 
Stayed me among its branches, where the sand 
Gathered about me, and I slowly grew. 
Fed by the constant sun and the inconstant dew. 

The sea-birds build their nests against my root. 

And eye my slender body's homy case, 

Widowed within this solitary place ; 
Into the thankless sea I cast my fruit; 

Joyless I thrive, for no man may partake 

Of all the store I bear and harvest for his sake. 

No more I heed the kisses of the mom ; 

The harsh winds rob me of the life they gave ; 

I watch my tattered shadow in the wave. 
And hourly droop and nod my crest forlorn. 

While all my fibres stiffen and grow numb 

Beck'ning the tardy ships, the ships that nerer come 



SUMMER CRUISING IN THE 
SOUTH SEAS. 




IN THE CRADLE OF THE DEEP. 

OBTT days in ihe great desert of the sea, 
— forty nights camped under doad cano- 
pies, with the salt dust of the waves drift>- 
ing over us. Sometimes a Bedouin sail 
flashed for an hour upon the distant horizon, and then 
faded, and we were alone again ; sometimes the west, 
at sunset^ looked like a dty with towers, and we bore 
down upon its glorified walls, seeking a haven ; but 
a cold grey morning dispelled the illusion, and our 
hearts sank back into the illimitable sea, breathing a 
long prayer for deliverance. 

Once a green oasis blossomed before us, — ^a garden 
in perfect bloom, girded about with creaming waves ; 
within its coral cincture pendulous boughs trailed in 
the glassy waters ; from its hidden bowers spiced airs 
stole down upon us ; above all the triumphant palm- 
trees clashed their melodious branches like a diorns 



•• • • .•• •.-.■ '- •: : 



14 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

wiih cymbals ; yet from i^he very gates of Una paradise 
a changeful current swept us onward^ and the happy 
isle was buried in night and distance. 

In many volumes of adventure I had read of sea 
perils : I was at last to learn the full interpretation of 
their picturesque horrors. Our little craft, the " Petrel," 
had buffeted the boisterous waves for five long weeks. 
Fortunately, the bulk of her cargo was edible : we 
feared neither famine nor thirst. Moreover, in spite of 
the continuous gale Hiat swept us out of our reckoning, 
the "Petrel " was in excellent condition, and, as far as we 
could judge, we had no reason to lose confidence in her. 
It was the grey weather that tried our patience and 
found us wanting ; it was the unparalleled pitdiing of 
the ninety-ton schooner that disheartened and almost 
dismembered us. And then it was wasting time at sea. 
Why were we not long before at our journey's end? 
Why were we not threading the vales of some savage 
island, and reaping our rich reward of ferns and shells 
and gorgeous butterflies? 

Uie sea rang its monotonous changes, — ^fair weather 
and foul, days like death itself, followed by days full of 
ihe revelations of new life, but mostly days of deadly 
dulness, when the sea was as unpoetical as an eternity 
of cold suds and blueing. 

I cannot always understand the logical fitness of 
things, or, rather, I am at a loss to know why some 
ihings in life are so unfit and illogical. Of course, in 
our darkest hour, when we were gathered in the con- 
fines of the " Petrel's " diminutive cabin, it was our duiy 
to sing psalms of hope and cheer, but we didn't. It 
was a time for mutual encouragement : very few of us 



IN THE CJ^ADLE OF THE DEEP. IJ 

were self-sustaining, and what was to be gained by oar 
oombining in unanimous despair? 

Our weailier-beaten skipper, — a thing of day that 
seemed utterly incapable of any expression whateyer, 
save in ibe sdi^t fisicial eontortion consequent to the 
mechanical movement of his lower jaw, — the ski{^r 
sat, wiiii barometer in hand, eyeing the fatal finger that 
pointed to our doom; the rest of us were lashed to the 
legs of the centre-table, glad of any object to fix our 
eyes upon, and nervously awaiting a turn in the state 
of afe4, kt was ihen by no meat encouraging. 

I happened to remember that there were some sealed 
letters to be read from time to time on ibe passage out, 
and it occurred to me ibat one of the times had come — 
perhaps the last and only — ^wherein I might break the 
remaining seals, and receive a sort of parting visit from 
the fortunate friends on shore. 

I opened one letter and read these prophetic lines : 
" Dear child," — she was twice my age, and privileged 
to make a pet of me, — " Dear child, I have a presenti- 
ment that we shall never meet again in the flesh." 

The poor girl's knowledge of past times was almost 
too much for me. I shuddered where I sat, overcome 
with remorse. It was enough that I had turned my 
back on her and sought consolation in the treache reus 
bosom of the ocean ; that, having failed to find the 
spring of immortal life in human affection, I had packed 
up and emigrated, content to fly the ills I had in search 
of change; but that parting shot, below the water-line as 
it were, — ^that was more than I asked for, and something 
more than I could stomach. I returned to watch with 
the rest of our little company, who dung about the 



* « « • » • • • 



I6 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

table with a pitiful sense of momentary security, and an 
expression of pathetic condolence on every countenance, 
as though each was sitting out the last hours of the 
others. 

Our particular bane that night was a crusty old sea- 
dog whose memory of wrecks and marine disasters of 
every conceivable nature was as complete as an encydo- 
psedia. This ^' old man of the sea " spun his tempestuous 
yam with fascinating composure, and the whole com- 
pany was awed into silence with the haggard realism of 
his narrative. The cabin must have been air-tight, it 
was as close as possible, yet we heard the shrieking of 
the wind as it tore through the rigging, and the long 
hiss of the waves rushing past us with lightning speed. 
Sometimes an avalanche of foam buried us for a 
moment, and the " Petrel " trembled like a living thing 
stricken with sudden fear ; we seemed to be hanging on 
the crust of a great bubble that was, sooner or later, 
certain to burst, and let us drop into its vast black 
chasm, where, in Cimmerian darkness, we should be 
entombed for ever. 

The scenic effect, as I then considered, was unneces- 
sarily vivid ; as I now recall it, it seems to me strictly 
in keeping and thoroughly dramatic. At any rate, you 
might have told us a dreadful story with almost fatal 
success. 

I had still one letter left, one bearing this suggestive 
legend : " To be read in the saddest hour." Now, if 
there is a sadder hour in all time than the hour of hope- 
less and friendless death, I care not to know of it. I 
broke the seal of my letter, feeling that something 
charitable and cheering would give me strength. A few 



IN THE CRADLE OF THE DEEP. 17 

dried leayes were stored within it. The faint fragrance 
of summer bowers reassured me : somewhere in the 
blank world of waters there was land, and there Nature 
was kind and fruitful ; out over the fearful deluge this 
leaf was borne to me in the return of the invisible doye 
my heart had sent forth in its extremity. A song was 
written therein, perhaps a song of triumph. I could 
now silence the clamorous tongue of our sea-monster, 
who was glutting us with tales of horror, for a jubilee 
was at hand, and here was the first note of its trumpets. 
I read : — 

<< Beyond the parting and the meeting, 

I shall be soon; 
Beyond the farewell and the greeting, 
Beyond the pulse's fever-beating, 

I shall be soon.'* 

I paused. A night black with croaking ravens, brood- 
ing over a slimy hulk, through whose warped timbers 
the sea oozed, — ^that was the sort of picture that rose 
before me. I looked farther for a crumb of comfort : — 

*' Beyond the gathering and the strewing, 

I shall be soon ; 
Beyond the ebbing and the flowing, 
Beyond the coming and the going, 

I shall be soon." 

A tide of ice-water seemed rippling up and down my 
spinal column ; the marrow congealed within my bones. 
But I recovered. When a man has supped full of 
horror and there is no immediate climax, he can collect 
himself and be comparatively brave. A reaction restored 
my souL 

2 



l8 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

Onoe more ihe melancholy chronicler of the ill-fated 
" Petrel " resumed his lugubrious narrative. I resolved 
to listen, while the skipper eyed the barometer, and we 
all rocked back and forth in search of the centre of 
gravity, looking like a troupe of mechanical blockheads 
I nodding in idiotic unison. All this time the little 
craft drifted helplessly, " hove to " in the teeth of the 
gale. 

The sea-dog's yam was something like this : He onoe 
knew a lonesome man who floated about in a water- 
logged hulk for three months ; who saw all his comrades 
starve and die, one after another, and at last kept watch 
alone, craving and beseeching death. It was the 
staunch French brig " Mouette," bound south into the 
equatorial seas. She had seen rough weather from the 
first : day after day the winds increased, and finally a 
cyclone burst upon her with insupportable fury. The 
brig was thrown upon her beam-ends, and began to fill 
rapidly. With much difficidty her masts were cut away, 
she righted, and lay in the trough of the sea rolling like 
a log. Gradually the gale subsided, but the hull of the 
brig was swept continually by the tremendous swell, and 
the men were driven into the foretop cross-trees, where 
^®y rigged a tent for shelter, and gathered what few 
stores were left them from the wreck. A dozen wretched 
souls lay in their stormy nest for three whole days in 
silence and despair. By this time their scanty stores 
were exhausted, and not a drop of water remained ; then 
their tongues were loosened, and they railed at the 
Almighty. Some wept like children, some cursed their 
fate. One man alone was speechless — a Spaniard, 
with a wicked light in his eye, and a repulsive man- 



IN THE CRADLE OF THE DEEP. 19 

ner lihat had made trouble in the forecastle more than 
once. 

When hunger had driven them nearly to madness 
ihey were fed in an almost miraculous manner. Several 
enormoTxs sharks had been swimmmg about the brig for 
some hours, andtiie hungry saUorswL planning various 
projects for the capture of them. Tough as a shark is, 
they would willingly have risked life for a few raw 
mouthfuls of the same. Somehow, though the sea was 
still and the wind light, the brig gave a sudden lurch and 
dipped up one of the monsters, who was quite secure in 
the shallow aquarium between the gunwales. He was 
soon despatched, and divided equally among the crew. 
Some ate a little, and reserved the rest for another day; 
some ate till they were sick, and had little left for the 
next meal. The Spaniard with the evil eye greedily 
devoured his portion, and then grew moody again, re- 
fusing to speak with the others, who were striving to be 
cheerful, though it was sad enough work. 

When the food was all gone save a few mouthfuls 
that one meagre eater had hoarded to the last, the 
Spaniard resolved to secure a morsel at the risk of his 
life. It had been a point of honour with the men to 
observe sacredly the right of ownership, and any breach 
of confidence would have been considered unpardonable 
At night, when the watch was sleeping, the Spaniard 
cautiously removed the last mouthful of shark hidden in 
the pocket of his mate, but was immediately detected 
and accused of theft. He at once grew desperate, 
struck at the poor wretch whom he had robbed, missed 
his blow, and fell headlong from the narrow platform in 
the foretop, and was lost in the sea. It was the first 



90 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

soene in ihe moumfid tragedy about to be enacted on 
that limited stage. 

Uiere was less disturbance after the disappearance of 
the Spaniard. Hie spirits of the doomed sailors seemed 
broken ; in fact, the captain was the only one whose 
courage was noteworthy, and it was his indomitable will 
that ultimately saved him. 

One by one the minds of the miserable men gaye 
way ; they became peevish or delirious, and then died 
horribly. Two, who had been mates for many voyages 
in the seas north and south, vanished mysteriously in 
the night ; no one could tell where they went or in 
what manner, though they seemed to have gone to- 
gether. 

Somehow these famishing sailors seemed to feel as- 
sured that their captain would be saved ; they were as 
confident of their own doom, and to him they entrusted 
a thousand messages of love. They would Ue around 
him, — ^for few of them had strength to assume a sitting 
posture, — and reveal to him the story of their lives. It 
was most pitiful to hear the confessions of these dying 
men. One said: " I wronged my friend; I was unkind 
to this one or to that one ; I deserve the heaviest 
punishment God can inflict upon me"; and then he 
paused, overcome with emotion. But another took up 
the refrain : " I could have done much good, but I would 
not, and now it is too late.'' And a third cried out in 
his despair^ ^' I have committed unpardonable sins, and 
there is no hope for me. Lord Jesus, have mercy 1 " 
The youngest of these perishing souls was a mere lad ; 
he, too, accused himself bitterly. He began his story at 
the beginning, and continued it from time to time as the 



JN THE CRADLE OF THE DEEP. 31 

spirit of revelation moved him; scarcely an incident, 
however insignificant, escaped him in his pitiless retro- 
spect the keen agony of that boy's recital ! more 
cruel than hunger or thirst, and in comparison with 
which physical torture would have seemed merciful and 
any death a blessing. 

While the luckless " Mouette" drifted aimlessly about, 
driven slowly onward by varying winds under a cheer- 
less sky, sickness visited them. Some were stricken 
with scurvy ; some had lost the use of their limbs and 
lay helpless, moaning and weeping hour after hour; 
vermin devoured them ; and when their garments were 
removed, and cleansed in the salt water, there was 
scarcely sundiine enough to dry them before night, and 
they were put on again, damp, stiffened with salt, and 
shrunken so as to cripple the wearers, who were all 
blistered and covered with boils. The nights were bitterly 
cold : sometimes the icy moon looked down upon them ; 
sometimes the bosom of an electric doud burst over 
them, and they were enveloped for a moment in a sheet 
of flame. Sharks lingered about them, waiting to feed 
upon the unhappy ones who fell into the sea overcome 
with physical e:diaustion, or who cast themselves from 
that izzy scaffold, unable longer to endure the horrors 
of lingering death. Flocks of sea-fowl hovered over 
them ; the hull of the " Mouette " was crusted with barna- 
cles ; long skeins of sea-grass knotted themselves in her 
gaping seams ; myriads of fish darted in and out among 
the clinging weeds, sporting gleefully ; schools of por- 
poises leaped about them, lashing the sea into foam ; 
sometimes a whale blew his long breath close under 
them. Everywhere was the stir of jubilant life, — every- 



12 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

where but under ihe tattered awning stretdied in the 
foretop of the " Mouette." 

Days and weeks dragged on. When the captain 
would waken from his sleep, — ^which was not always at 
night, however, for the nights were miserably cold and 
sleepless, — when he wakened he would call the roll. 
Perhaps some one made no answer; then he would 
reach forth and touch the speechless body and find it 
dead. He had not strength now to bury the corpses in 
the sea's sepulchre ; he had not strength even to par- 
take of the unholy feast of the inanimate flesh. Ho 
lay there in the midst of pestilence ; and at night, 
under the merciful veil of darkness, the fowls of the air 
gathered about him and bore away their trophy of cor- 
ruption. 

By-and-by there were but two left of all that suffer- 
ing crew, — ^the captain and the boy, — ^and these two 
dung together like ghosts, defying mortality. They 
strove to be patient and hopeful : if they could not eat, 
they could drink, for the nights were dewy, and some- 
times a mist covered them, a mist so dense it seemed 
almost to drip from the rags that poorly sheltered them. 
A cord was attached to the shrouds, the end of it care- 
fully laid in the mouth of a bottle slung in the rigging. 
Down the thin cord slid occasional drops ; one by 
one they stole into the bottle, and by morning there 
was a spoonful of water to moisten those parched lips, 
— sweet, crystal drops, more blessed than tears, for 
they are salt ; more precious than pearls. A thou- 
sand prayers of gratitude seemed hardly to quiet the 
souls of the lingering ones for that great charily of 
Heaven* 



W THE CRADLE OF THE DEEP. %l 

There came a day when the hearts of God's angels 
must have bled for the suffering ones. The breeze was 
fresh and fair ; the sea tossed gaily its foam-crested 
waves ; sea-birds soared in wider circles ; and the 
donds shook out their fleecy folds, through which the 
sunlight streamed in grateful warmth. The two ghosts 
yere talking, as ever, of home, of earth, of land. Land, 
—land anywhere, so that it were solid and broad. 0, 
to pace again a whole league without turning I 0, to 
pause in the shadow of some living tree I To drink of 
some stream whose waters flowed continually ; flowed, 
though you drank of them with the awful thirst of one 
who had been denied water for weeks and weeks and 
weeks, for three whole months, — an etemiiy, as it 
seemed to them. 

Then they pictured life as it might be if God per^ 
mitted them to return to earth once more. They would 
pace K Street at noon, and revisit that capital res- 
taurant where many a time they had feasted, though in 
those days they were unknown to one another; they 
would call for coffee, and this dish and that dish, and a 
whole bill of fare, the thought of which made their 
feverish palates grow moist again. They would meet 
friends whom they had never loved as they now loved 
them; they would recondle old feuds and forgive every- 
body everything ; they held imaginary conversations, 
and found life very beautiful and gready to be desired; 
and somehow they would get back to the Uttle caf^ and 
there begin eating again, and with a relish that brought 
the savoury tastes and smells vividly before them, and 
their lips would move and the impalpable morsels roll 
sweetly over their tongues. 



. ^> . ••' ' 



24 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

It bad become a second nature to sconr ibe borizon 
witb jealous eyes; never for a moment during tbeir long 
martyrdom bad tbeir covetous eyes fixed upon a station- 
ary object But it came at last. Out of a doud a sail 
burst like a flickering flame. Wbat an age it was 
a-coming ! bow it budded and blossomed like a glorious 
wbite flower, tbat was transformed suddenly into a bark 
bearing down upon them I Almost witbin bail it stayed 
its course ; tbe canvas fluttered in die wind; tbe dark 
hull slowly rose and fell upon the water; figures moved 
to and fro, — ^men, living and breathing men I Then tbe 
ghosts staggered to their feet and cried to God for 
mercy. Then they waved their arms, and beat tbeir 
breasts, and lifted up tbeir imploring voices, beseeching 
deliverance out of that horrible bondage. Tears coursed 
down their hollow cheeks, tbeir limbs quaked, their 
breath failed them; they sank back in despair, speeddess 
and forsaken. 

Why did they faint in tbe hour of deliverance when 
tbat narrow chasm was all tbat separated them from 
renewed life ? Because tbe .bark spread out her great 
white wings and soared away, bearing not the faint 
voices, seeing not the thin shadows tbat haunted that 
drifting wreck. Tbe forsaken ones looked out from 
tbeir eyrie, and watched the lessening sail until sight 
failed them; and then the lad, with one wild cry, leaped 
toward tbe fleeting bark, and was swallowed up in the 
sea. 

Alone in a wilderness of waters. Alone, without 
compass or rudder, borne on by relentless winds into 
the lonesome, dreary, shoreless ocean of despair, within 
whose blank and forbidding sphere no voyager ventures; 



JN THE CRADLE OF THE DEEP. 25 

across whose desolate waste dawn sends no signal and 
night brings no reprieve; but whose sun is cold, and 
whose moon is clouded, and whose stars withdraw into 
space, and where the insufferable silence of vacancj shall 
not be broken for all time. 

O pitiless Nature I thy irrevocable laws argue sore 
sacrifice in the waste places of God's universe I 

The "Petrel" gave a tremendous lurch, that sent two or 
three of us into the lee comers of the cabin; a sea broke 
over us, bursting in the companion-hatch, and half filling 
our small and insecure retreat. The swinging lamp was 
thrown from its socket and extinguished; we were enve- 
loped in pitch darkness, up to our knees in salt water. 
There was a moment of awfiil silence; we could not tell 
whether the light of day would ever visit us again ; we 
thought perhaps it wouldn't. But the " Petrel " rose 
once more upon the watery hill-tops, and shook herself 
free of the cumbrous deluge; and at that point, when 
she seemed to be riding more easily than usual, some 
one broke the silence: "Well, did the captain of the 
' Mouette ' live to tell the tale ?" 

Tes, he did. God sent a messenger into the lonesome 
deep, where the miserable man was found insensible, 
with his eyes wide open against the sunlight, and lips 
shrunken apart, — a hideous, eathing corpse. When 
he was lifted into the arms of the brave fellows who had 
gone to his rescue, he said, " Great God ! am I saved ?" 
as though he couldn't believe it when it was true; then 
he fainted, and was nursed through a long delirium, 
and was at last restored to health and home and 
happiness. 

Our cabin boy managed to fish up the lamp, and after 



j4 summer cruising in the south seas. 

a little we were illnminated ; the agile swab soon 
sponged out the cabin, and we resumed our tedious 
watch for dawn and fair weather. 

Somehow, my mind brooded over the solitary wreck 
that was drifting about the sea. I could fancy the 
rotten timbers of the " Mouette " clinging together, by 
a miracle, until the " Ancient Mariner " was taken away 
from her, and then, when she was alone again, with 
nothing whatever in sight but blank blue sea and blank 
blue sky, she lay for an hour or so, bearded with shaggy 
sea-moss and looking about a thousand years old. Sud- 
denly it occurred to her that her time had come, — ^that 
she had outlived her usefulness, and might as well go to 
pieces at once. So she yawned in all her timbers, and 
the sea reached up over her, and laid hold of her masts, 
and seemed to be slowly drawing her down into its 
bosom. There was not an audible sound, and scarcely a 
ripple upon the water; but when the waves had climbed 
into the foretop, there was a clamour of affrighted birds, 
and a myriad bubbles shot up to the surface, where a few 
waifs floated and whirled about for a moment. It was 
all that marked the spot where the "Mouette" went 
down to her eternal rest. 

" Ha, ha !" cried our skipper, with something ahnost 
like a change of expression on his mahogany counte- 
nance, " the barometer is rising 1 " and sure enough it 
was. In two hours the " Petrel " acted like a different 
craft entirely, and by-and-by came daybreak, and after 
that the sea went down, down, down into a deep, dead 
calm, when all the elements seemed to have gone to sleep 
after their furious warfare. Like half-drowned flies we 
crawled out of the dose, ill-smelling cabin to dry our- 



aN the cradle of the deep. a; 

selves in the sun: there, on the steaming deck of the 
schooner, we found new life, and in the hope that dawned 
with it we grew lusty and joyful. 

Such a flat, oily sea as it was then I So transparent, 
that we saw great fish swimming about, full fathom five 
* under us. A monstrous shark drifted lazily past, his 
dorsal fin now and then cutting the surface like a knife 
and glistening like polished steel, his brace of pilo<>-fish 
darting hither and thither, striped like little one-legged 
harlequins. 

Flai-headed gonies sat high on the water, piping their 
querulous note as they tugged at something edible, a 
dozen of them entering into the domestic difficulty : one 
after another would desert the cause, run a little way 
over the sea to get a good start, leap heavily into the 
ab-, sail about for a few minutes, and then drop back on 
the sea, feet>-foremost, and skate for a yard or two, 
making a white mark and a pleasant sound as it slid 
over the water. 

The exquisite nautilus floated past us, with its gauzy 
sail set, looking like a thin slice out of a soap-bubble ; 
the strange anemone laid its pale, sensitive petals on the 
lips of the wave and panted in ecstasy ; the " Petrel " 
rocked softly, swinging her idle canvas in the sun ; we 
heard the click of tie anchor-chain in the forecastle, the 
blessedest sea-sound I wot of ; a sailor sang whilo he 
hung in the ratlines and tarred down the salt-stained 
shrouds. The afternoon waned ; the man at the wheel 
struck two bells, — ^it was the delectable dog-watch. 
Down went the swarthy sun into his tent of clouds ; the 
waves were of amber ; the fervid sky was flushed ; it 
looked as though something splendid were about to 



a8 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

happen up there, and that it could hardly keep the 
secret much longer. Then came the purplest twilight ; 
and then the sky blossomed all over wii^ the biggest, 
ripest, goldenest stars, — such stars as hang like fruits in 
sun-fed orchards ; such stars as lay a track of fire in 
the sea ; such stars as rise and set over mountains and 
beyond low green capes, like young moons, every one 
of them ; and I conjured up my spells of savage en- 
chantment, my blessed islands, my reefs baptized with 
silver spray ; I saw the broad fan-leaves of the banana 
droop in the motionless air, and through the tropical 
night the palms aspired heavenward, while I lay dream- 
ing my sea-dream in the cradle of the deep. 



} 




CHUMMING WITH A SAVAGE. 

PART L 

HEBE was a little brown rain-cloud, that 
blew over in about three minutes ; and 
Bolabola's thatched hut was dry as a hay- 
stack in less than half that time. Those 
tropical sprays are not much, anyhow ; so I lounged 
down into the banana-patch, for I thought I saw some- 
thing white there, something white and fluttering, 
moving about. I knew pretty well what it was, and 
didn't go after it on an uncertainty. 

The Doctor looked savage. Whenever he slung those 
saddle-bags over his left shoulder, and swung his right 
arm dean out from his body, like the regulator of a 
steam engine, you might know that his steam was 
pretty well up. I turned to look back, as he was 
strapping up his beast of burden till the poor animal's 
body was positively waspish ; then he climbed into his 
saddle, and sullenly plunged down the trail toward the 
precipice, and never said, " Good-bye," or " God bless 
yoU|" or any of those harmless tags that come in so 



30 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

well when you don't know how to cut off your last 
words. 

I positively assert, and this without malice, the Doctor 
was perfectly savage. 

Now, do you know what demoralized that Doctor ? 
how we came to a misunderstanding ? or why we parted 
company ? It was simply because here was a glorious 
valley, inhabited by a mild, half-civilized people, who 
seemed to love me at first sight. I don't believe I dis- 
liked them, either. Well 1 they asked me to stop with 
them, and I felt just like it. I wanted to stop and be 
natural ; but the Doctor thought otherwise of my in- 
tentions ; and that was the origin of Ihe row. 

The next thing I knew, the Doctor had got up the 
great precipice, and I was quite alone with two hundred 
dusky fellows, only two of whom could speak a syllable 
of English, and I the sole representative of the superior 
white within twenty miles. Alone with cannibals, — 
perhaps they were cannibals. They had magnificent 
teeth, at any rate, and could bite through an inch and a 
half sugar-cane, and not break a jaw. 

For the first time that summer I began to moralize a 
little. Was it best to have kicked against the Doctor's 
judgment? Perhaps not ! But it is best to be careful 
how you begin to moralize too early ; you deprive your- 
self of a great deal of fun in that way. If you w^ant to 
do anything particularly, I should advise you to do it, 
and then be sufficiently sorry to make it all square. 

I'm not so sure that I was wrong, after all. Fate, or 
the Doctor, or something else, brought me first to this 
loveliest of valleys, so shut out from everything but 
itself that there were no temptations which might not 



CHUMMING WITH A SAVAGE. 31 

be satisfied. Well! here^ as I was looking about at 
the singular loveliness of the place, — ^you know this was 
. my first glimpse of its abrupt walls, hung with tapestries 
of fern and clambering convolvulus; at one end two 
exquisite waterfalls, rivalling one another in whiteness 
and airiness, at the other the sea, the real South Sea, 
breaking and foaming over a genuine reef, and even 
rippling the placid current of the river that slipped 
quietly down to its embracing tide from the deep basins 
at these waterfalls, — right in the midst of all this, before 
I had been ten minutes in the valley, I saw a straw hat, 
bound with wreaths of fern and maUe ; under it a snow- 
white garment, rather short all around, low in the neck, 
and with no sleeves whatever. 

There was no sex to that garment; it was the spon- 
taneous oflFspring of a scant material and a large neces- 
sity. I'd seen plenty of that sort of thing, but never 
upon a model like this, so entirely tropical, — almost 
Oriental. As this singular phenomenon made directly 
for me, and, having come within reach, there stopped 
and stayed, I asked its name, using one of my seven 
stock phrases for the purpose; I found it was called 
E&na-an£. Down it went into my note-book; for I 
knew I was to have an experience with this young 
sdon of- a race of chiefs. Sure enough, I have had it. 
He continued to regard me steadily, without embarrass- 
ment. He seated himself before me; I felt myself at 
the mercy of one whose calm analysis was questioning 
every motive of my soul. This sage inquirer was, 
perhaps, sixteen years of age. His eye was so earnest 
and so honest, I could return his look. I saw a round, 
full, rather girlish face; lips ripe and expressive, not 



32 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

quite SO sensual as those of most of his race; not a bad 
nose, by any means; eyes perfectly glorious, — regular 
almonds, — ^wiih the mythical lashes " that sweep," etc., 
eta The smile which presently transfigured his face 
was of the nature that flatters you into submission 
against your will. 

Haying weighed me in his balance, — and you may 
be sure his instincts didn't cheat him; they don't do 
that sort of thing, — ^he placed his two hands on my two 
knees, and declared, ^^ I was his best friend, as he was 
mine; I must come at once to his house, and there live 
always with him." What could I do but go? He 
pointed me to his lodge across the river, saying, " There 
was his home and mine." By this time, my native 
without a master was quite exhausted. I wonder what 
would have happened if some one hadn't come to my 
rescue, just at iliat moment of trial, with a fresh vocabu- 
lary? As it was, we settled the matter at once. This 
was our little plan, — ^an entirely private arrangement 
between Kdna-and and myself: I was to leave with the 
Doctor in an hour; but, at the expiration of a week we 
should both return hither; then I would stop with him, 
and the Doctor could go his way. 

There was an immense amount of secrecy, and many 
vows, and I was almost crying, when the Doctor hurried 
me up that terrible precipice, and we lost sight of the 
beautiful valley. Kan&-and, swore he would watch con- 
tinually for my return, and I vowed I'd hurry back; 
and so we parted. Looking down from the heights^ I 
thought I could distinguish his white garment; at any 
rate, I knew the little fellow was somewhere about, 
feeling as miserably as I felt, — and nobody has any 



CHUMMING WITH A SAVAGE. 33 

business to feel worse. How many times I thought of 
him through the week ! I was always wondering if he 
still thought of me. I had found those natives to be 
impulsive, demonstrative, and, I feared, inconstant. Yet 
why should he forget me, having so little to remember 
in his idle life, while I could still think of him, and 
put aside a hundred pleasant memories for his sake? 
The whole island was a delight to me. I often won- 
dered if I should ever again behold such a series of 
valleys, hills, and highlands in so small a compass. 
That land is a world in miniature, the dearest spot of 
which, to me, was that secluded valley; for there was 
a young soul watching for my return. 

That was rather a slow week for me, but it ended 
finally; and just at sunset, on the day appointed, the 
Doctor and I found ourselves back on the edge of the 
valley. I looked all up and down its green expanse, 
regarding every living creature, in the hope of dis- 
covering K^tna^nd. in the attitude of the watcher. I 
let the Doctor ride ahead of me on the trail to Bola- 
bola's hut, and it was quite in the twilight when I 
heard the approach of a swift horseman. I turned, and 
at that moment there was a collision of two constitutions 
that were just fitted for one another; and all the doubts 
and apprehensions of the week just over were indig- 
nantly dismissed, for Kd>na-an& and I were one and 
inseparable, which was perfectly satisfactory to both 
parties! 

The plot, which had been thickening all the week, 
cnlminated then, much to the disgust of the Doctor, 
who had kept his watchful eye upon me all these days — 
to my advantage, as he supposed. There was no dis- 

3 



34 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

guising our project any longer, so I out with it as 
mildly as possible. " Iliere was a dear fellow here," I 
said, " who loved me, and wanted me to live with him; 
all his people wanted me to stop, also; his mother and 
his grandmother had specially desired it. They didn't 
care for money; they had much love for me, and there- 
fore implored me to stay a little. Then the valley was 
most beautifiil; I was tired; after our hard riding, I 
needed rest; his mother and his grandmother assured 
me that I needed rest. Now, why not let me rest here 
awhile?" 

The Doctor looked very grave. I knew that he mis- 
understood me, — placed a wrong interpretation upon my 
motives ; the worse for him, I say. He tried to talk 
me over to the paths of virtue and propriety ; but I 
wouldn't be talked over. Then the final blast was blown ; 
war was declared at once. The Doctor never spoke 
again, but to abuse me ; and off he rode in high dud- 
geon, and the sun kept going down on his wrath. 
Thereupon I renounced all the foUies of this world, 
actually hating civilization, and feeling entirely above 
the formalities of sodeiy. I resolved on the spot to be 
a barbarian, and, perhaps, dwell for ever and ever in this 
secluded spot. And here I am back to the beginning of 
this story, just after the shower at Bolabola's hut, as the 
Doctor rode off alone and in anger. 

That resolution was considerable for me to make. I 
found, by the time the Doctor was out of sight and I 
was quite alone, with the natives regarding me so curi- 
ously, that I was very tired indeed. So K4na-«n4 
brought up his horse, got me on to it in some way or 
otheri and mounted behind me to pilot the animal and 



VHUMMING WITH A SA VAGE. 35 

snstain me in mj first bareback act. Over tbe sand we 
went, and through the river to his hut, where I was 
taken in, fed, and petted in every possible way, and 
finally put to bed, where Kdna-^ani monopolized me, 
growling in true savage £Eishion if any one came near 
me. I didn't sleep much, after all. I think I must 
have been excited. I thought how strangely I was 
situated : alone in a wilderness, among barbarians ; my , 
bosom friend, who was hugging me like a young bear, 
not able to speak one syllable of English, and I very 
shaky on a few bad phrases in his tongue. We two lay 
upon an enormous old-fashioned bed with high posts, — 
very high they seemed to me in the dim rushlight. The 
natives always bum a small light after dark; some 
superstition or other prompts it. The bed, well stocked 
with pillows, or cushions, of various sizes, covered with 
bright-coloured chintz, was hung about with nume- 
rous shawls, so that I might be dreadfully modest behind 
them. It was quite a grand affiiir, gotten up expressly 
for my benefit. The rest of the house — ^all in on^ room, 
as usual — was covered with mats, on which various re- 
cumbent forms and several individual snores betrayed 
the proximity of Kd>na-and's relatives. How queer the 
whole atmosphere of the place was 1 The heavy beams 
of the house were of some rare wood, which, being 
polished, looked like colossal sticks of peanut candy. 
Slender canes were bound across this framework, and 
the soft, dried grass of the meadows was braided over 
it, — all completing our tenement, and making it as fresh 
and sweet as new-mown hay. 

The natives have a passion for perfumes. Little 
bunches of sweetnunelling herbs hung in the peak of the 



36 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

roof, and wreaths of fragrant berries were strung in 
various parts of the house. I found our bedposts fes- 
tooned with them in the morning. that bed ! It 
might have come from England in the Elizabethan era 
and been wrecked off the coast ; hence the mystery of 
its presence. It was big enough for a Mormon. There 
was a little opening in the room opposite our bed ; you 
might call it a window, I suppose. The sun, shining 
through it, made our tent of shawls perfectly gorgeous 
in crimson light, barred and starred with gold. I lifted 
our bed-curtain, and watched the rocks through this 
window,— the shining rocks, with the sea leaping above 
them in the sun. There were cocoa-palms so slender 
they seemed to cast no shadow, while their fringed leaves 
glistened like frost-work as the sun glanced over them. 
A bit of diff, also, remote and misty, running &r into 
the sea, was just visible from my pyramid of pillows. 
I wondered what more I could ask for to delight the 
eye. K&na-an& was still asleep, but he never let loose 
Ids hold on me, as though he feared his pale-faced friend 
would fisuie away from him. He lay close by me. His 
sleek figure, supple and graceftd in repose, was the em- 
bodiment of free, untrammelled youth. You who are 
brought up under cover know notliing of its luxurious- 
ness. How I longed to take him over the sea with me, 
and show him something of life as we find it. Thinking 
upon it, I dropped off into one of those delicious morning 
naps. I awoke again presently; my companion-in-arms 
was the occasion this time. He had awakened, stolen 
softly away, resumed his single garment, — said garment 
and all others he considered superfluous after dark, — 
and had prepared for me, with his own hands, a break- 



CHUMMING WITH A SA VAGE, 37 

fiist, which he now declared to me, in violent and sug- 
gestive pantomime, was all ready to be eaten. It was 
not a bad bill of fare, — afresh fish, taro, poe, and goat's 
milk. I ate as well as I could, under the circumstances. 
I found that Bobinson Crusoe must have had some 
tedious rehearsals before he acquired that perfect resig- 
nation to Providence which delights us in book form. 
There was a veritable and most unexpected table-cloth 
for me alone. I do not presume to question the nature 
of its miraculous appearance. Dishes there were, — 
dishes, if you're not particular as to shape or complete- 
ness ; forks, with a prong or two, — a bent and abbre- 
viated prong or two ; knives that had survived their 
handles ; and one solitary spoon. All these were tributes 
of the too generous people, who, for the first time in 
their lives, were at the inconvenience of entertaining a 
distinguished stranger. Hence this reckless display of 
tableware. I ate as well as 1 could, but surely not 
enough to satisfy my crony; for, when I had finished 
eating, he sat about two hours in deep and depressing 
silence, at ihe expiration of which time he suddenly 
darted off on his bareback steed and was gone till dark, 
when he returned with a &t mutton slung over his 
animal. Now, mutton doesn't grow wild thereabout, 
neither were his relatives shepherds ; consequently, in 
eating, I asked no questions for conscience' sake. 

The series of entertainments offered me were such as 
the little valley had not known for years: canoe-rides up 
and down the winding stream ; bathings in the sea and 
in the river, and in every possible bit of water, at all 
possible hours ; expeditions into the recesses of the 
mountains, to the waterfalls that plunged into cool 



38 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

basins of fern and cresses, and to the orange grove 
through acres and acres of goava orchards ; some 
climbings up the precipices ; goat hunting, once or 
twice, as far as a solitary cavern, said to be haunted, — 
these tramps always by daylight ; then a new course of 
bathings and sailings, interspersed with monotonous 
singing and occasional smokes nnder the eaves of the 
hut at evening. 

If it is a question how long a man may withstand the 
seductions of nature, and the consolations and con- 
veniences of the state of nature, I have solved it in 
one case ; for I was as natural as possible in about 
three days. 

I wonder if I was growing to feel more at home, or 
more hungry, that I found an appetite at last equal to 
any table that was oflTered me 1 Chicken was added to 
my already bountiful rations, nicely cooked by being 
swathed in a broad, succulent leaf, and roasted or 
steeped in hot ashes. I ate it with my fingers, using 
the leaf for a platter. 

Almost every day something new was offered at the 
door for my edification. Now, a net fiill of large guavas 
or mangoes, or a sack of leaves crammed with most de« 
licious oranges from the mountains, that seemed to have 
absorbed the very dew of heaven, they were so fresh 
and sweet. Immense lemons perfumed the house, wait- 
ing to make me a capital drink. Those superb citrons, 
with their rough, golden crusts, refreshed me. Cocoa- 
nuts were heaped at the door ; and yams, grown miles 
away, were sent for, so that I might be satisfied. All 
these additions to my table were the result of long and 
vigorous arguments between the respective heads of the 



CHUMMING WITH A SA VAGE. ' 39 

boase. I detected trouble and anxieij in their expres- 
sive &ces. I picked out a word, here and there, which 
betrayed their secret sorrow. No assertions, no remon- 
strances on my part, had the slightest e£Pect upon the 
poor souls, who believed I was starving. Eat I must, 
at all hours and in all places ; and eat, moreover, before 
they would touch a mouthful. So Nature teaches her 
children a hospitality which all the arts of the capital 
cannot affect. 

I wonder what it was that finally made me restless 
and eager to see new feces 1 Perhaps my unhappy dis- 
position, that urged me thither, and then lured me back 
to the pride of life and the glory of the world. Certain 
I am that Kdna-an& never wearied me with his atten- 
tions, though they were incessant. Day and night he 
was by me. When he was silent, I knew he was con- 
ceiving some surprise in the shape of a new fruit, or a 
new view to beguile me. I was, indeed, beguiled; I 
was gro^dng to like the little heathen altogether too 
welL What should 1 do when I was at last compelled 
to return out of my seclusion, and find no soul so faith- 
ful and loving in all the world beside ? Day by day this 
thought grew upon me, and with it I realized the neces- 
sity of a speedy departure. 

There were those in the world I could still remember 
with that exquisitely painftil pleasure that is the secret of 
true love. Those still voices seemed incessantly calling 
me, and something in my heart answered them of its 
own accord. How strangely idle the days had grown ! 
We used to lie by the hour — K&na-and. and I — watching 
a strip of sand on which a wild poppy was nodding in 
the wind. This poppy seemed to me typical of their life 



40 SUHiMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

in the quiet yallej. Living only to occupy so much 
space in the universe^ it buds^ blossoms^ goes to seed, 
dies, and is forgotten. 

These natives do not even distinguish the memory of 
&eir great dead, if they ever had any. It was the legend 
of some mythical god that Kdna-and told me, and of 
which I could not understand a twentieth part; a god 
whose triumphs were achieved in an age beyond the 
comprehension of the very people who are delivering its 
story, by word of mouth, from generation to generation. 
Watching the sea was a great source of amusement 
with us. I discovered in our long watches that there 
is a very complicated and magnificent rhythm in its 
solemn song. This wave that breaks upon the shore 
is the heaviest of a series that preceded it ; and these 
are greater and less, alternately, every fifteen or twenty 
minutes. Over this dual impulse the tides prevail, while 
through the year there is a variation in their rise and 
fall. What an intricate and wonderftd mechanism regu- 
lates and repairs all this I 

There was an entertainment in watching a particular 
cUfi^, in a peculiar light, at a certain hour, and finding 
soon enough that change visited even that hidden quar- 
ter of the globe. The exquisite perfection of this mo- 
ment, for instance, is not again repeated on to-morrow, 
or the day aftier, but in its stead appears some new tint 
or picture, which, perhaps, does not satisfy like this. 
That was the most distressing disappointment that came 
upon us there. I used to spend half an hour in idly 
observing the splendid curtains of our bed swing in the 
light air from the sea ; and I have speculated for days 
upon the probable destiny awaiting one of those superb 



^HUMMING WITH A SA VAGE. 41 

spiders, wiili a tremendous stomach and a striped waist- 
coat, looking a centarj old, as he clung tenaciouslj to 
the fringes of our canopy. 

We had fitftd spells of conversation upon some trivial 
theme, after long intervals of intense silence. We began 
to develope symptoms of imbecility. There was laughter 
at the least occurrence, though quite barren of humour; 
also, eating and drinking to pass the time; bathing to 
make one's self cool, after the heat and drowsiness of 
the day. So life flowed on in an unruffled current, and 
so the prodigal lived riotously and wasted his substance. 
There came a day when we promised ourselves an actual 
occurrence in our Crusoe life. Some one had seen a 
floating object &.r out at sea. It might be a boat adrift; 
and, in truth, it looked very like a boat. Two or three 
canoes darted off through the surf to the rescue, while 
we gathered on the rocks, watching and ruminating. 
It was long before the rescuers returned, and then they 
came empty-handed. It was only a log after all, drifted, 
probably, from America. We talked it aU over, there 
by the shore, and went home to renew the subject ; it 
lasted us a week or more, and we kept harping upon it 
till that log— drifting slowly, how slowly I from the 
fer mainland to our island — seemed almost to overpower 
me with a sense of the unutterable loneliness of its 
voyage. I used to lie and think about it, and get very 
solemn indeed ; then K&na-and would think of some 
fresh appetizer or other, and try to make me merry with 
good feeding. Again and again he would come with a 
delicious banana to the bed where I was lying, and insist 
upon my gorging myself, when I had but barely re- 
covered from a late orgie of fruit, flesh, or fowl He 



4^ SUMMER CRUlSim W THE SOUTH SEAS. 

would mesmerize me into a most refreshing sleep with a 
prolonged and pleasing manipulation. It was a remi- 
niscence of the baths of Stamboul not to be withstood. 
From this sleep I would presently be wakened by Kiin4- 
and's performance upon a rude sort of harp, that gave 
out a weird and eccentric music. The moutii being ap- 
plied to the instrument, words were pronounced in a 
guttural voice, while the fingers twanged the strings in 
measure. It was a flow of monotones, shaped into 
legends and lyrics. I hked it amazingly ; all the better, 
perhaps, that it was as good as Greek to me, for I 
understood it as little as I understood the strange and 
persuasive silence of that beloved place, which seemed 
slowly but surely weaving a spell of enchantment about 
me. I resolved to desert peremptorily, and managed 
to hire a canoe and a couple of natives, to cross the 
channel with me. There were other reasons for this 
prompt action. 

Hour by hour I was beginning to realize one of the 
inevitable results of Time. My boots were giving out ; 
their best sides were the uppers, and their soles had 
about left them. As I walked, I could no longer dis- 
guise this pitiful fact. It was getting hard on me, 
especially in the gravel. Yet, regularly each morning, 
my pieces of boot were carefully oiled, then rubbed, or 
petted, or coaxed into some sort of a polish, which was a 
labour of love. K&na-an£ f how could you wring my 
soul with those touching offices of friendship I — ^those 
kindnesses unfailing, unsurpassed I 

Having resolved to sail early in the morning, before 
the drowsy citizens of the valley had fairly shaken the 
dew out of their forelocks, all that day — ^my last with 



CHUMMING WITH A SAVAGE, 43 

Kd^na-an^l — I breathed about me sHent benedictions and 
farewells. I could not begin to do enough for K&na- 
anfi, who was, more than ever, devoted to me. He 
almost seemed to suspect our sudden separation, for he 
dung to me with a sort of subdued desperation. That 
was the day he took from his head his hat — a very neat 
one, plaited by his mother — ^insisting that I should wear 
it (mine was quite in tatters), while he went bareheaded 
in the sun. That hat hangs in my room now, the only 
tangible relic of my procUgal days. My plan was to 
steal off at dawn, while he slept ; to awaken my native 
crew, and escape to sea before my absence was detected. 
I dared not trust a parting with him, before the eyes of 
the valley. Well, I managed to wake and rouse my 
sailor boys. To tell the truth, I didn't sleep a wink 
that night. We launched the canoe, entered, put off, 
and had safely mounted the second big roller just as 
it broke under us with terrific power, when I heard 
a shrill cry above the roar of the waters. I knew the 
voice and its import. There was Kd.na-an£ rushing 
madly toward us ; he had discovered all, and couldn't 
even wait for that white garment, but ran after us like 
one gone daft, and plunged into tho cold sea, calling my ^ 
name, over and over, as he fought the breakers. 1 
urged the natives forward. I knew if he overtook us, I 
should never be able to escape again. We fairly flew ^ 
over the water. I saw him rise and fall with the swell, 
looking like a seal ; for it was his second nature, this 
surf-swimming. I believe in my heart I wished the 
paddles would break or the canoe split on the reef, 
though all the time I was urging the rascals forward ; 
and they, like stupids, took me at my word. They 



44 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

couldn't break a paddle, or get on the reef, or have any 
sort of an accident Presently we rounded the head- 
land, — ^the same hazy point I used to watch from the 
grass house, through the little window, of a sunshiny 
morning. There we lost sight of the valley and the 
grass house, and everything tbat was associated with the 
past, — ^but that was nothing. We lost sight of the 
little sea-god, K&na-and, shaking the spray from his 
forehead like a porpoise ; and this was all in all. I 
didn't care for anything else after that, or anybody else, 
either. I went straight home and got civilized again, 
or partly so, at least I've never seen the Doctor since, 
and never want to. He had no business to take me 
there, or leave me there. I couldn't make up my mind 
to stay ; yet I'm always dying to go back again. 

So I grew tired over my husks. I arose and went 
unto my father. I wanted to finish up the Prodigal 
business. I ran and fell upon his neck and kissed him, 
and said unto him, " Father, if I have sinned against 
Heaven and in thy sight, I'm afraid I don't care much. 
Don't kill anything. I don't want any calf. Take 
back the ring, I don't deserve it ; for I'd give more this 
minute to see that dear, little, velvet-skinned, coffee- 
coloured K&na-and, than anything else in the wide 
world, — ^because he hates business, and so do I. He's a 
regular brick, father, moulded of the purest day, and 
baked in God's sunshine. He's about half sunshine 
himself ; and, above all others, and more than any one 
else ever can, he loved your prodigal" 



CHUMMING WITH A SAVAGE. 45 



PART IL 

HOW I OONVEBTBD MT CANNIBAL. 

WiaEN people began asking me queer questions about 
my chum Kdna-and^ some of them even hinting that 
"he might possibly have been a girl all the time," I 
resolved to send down for him, and settle the matter 
at once. I knew he was not a girl, and I thought I 
should like to show him some American hospitality, and 
perhaps convert him before I sent him back again. 

I could teach him to dress, you know; to say a very 
good thing to your face, and a very bad one at your 
back; to sleep well in church, and rejoice duly when the 
preacher got at last to the " Amen." I might do all 
this for his soul's sake; but I wanted more to see how 
the little fellow was getting on. I missed him so ter- 
ribly, — ^his honest way of showing likes and dislikes; his 
confidence in his intuitions and fidelity to his friends; 
and those quaint manners of his, so different from any- 
thing in vogue this side of the waters. 

This is what I remarked when I got home again, and 
found myself growing as practical and prosy as ever. 
I awoke no kindred chord in the family bosom. On the 
contrary, they all said, " It was no use to think of it: no 
good could come out of Nazareth." The idea of a hea- 
then and his abominable idolatry being countenanced in 
the sanctity of a Christian home was too dreadful for 
anything. But I believed some good might come out of 
Nazareth, and I believed that, when it did come, it was 
the genuine article worth hunting for, surely* I thought 



46 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS, 

it all over soberly, finally resolving to do a little mis- 
sionary work on my own account. So I wrote to the 
Colonel of the Eoyal Guards, who knows everybody 
and has immense influence everywhere, begging him to 
catch Eiruar^m^, when his folks weren't looking, and 
send him to my address, marked C. 0. D., for I was 
just dying to see him. That was how I trapped my 
little heathen, and began to be a missionary, all by 
myself. 

I assured the Colonel it was a case of real necessity, 
and he seemed to realize it, for he managed to get 
K&na-an& away from his distressed relatives (their name 
is legion, and they live all over the island), fit him out 
in redl clothing, — the poor little wretch had to be 
dressed, you know; we all do it in this country, — ^then 
he packed him up and shipped him, care of the captxiin 

of the bark S . When he arrived, I took him right 

to my room and began my missionary work. I tried to 
make all the people love him, but I'm afraid they found 
it hard work. He wasn't half so interesting up here 
anyhow 1 I seemed to have been regarding him through 
chromatic glasses, which glasses being suddenly removed, 
I found a little dark-skinned savage, whose doihes fitted 
him horribly, and appeared to have no business there. 
Boots about twice too long, the toes being heavily 
charged with wadding; in fact, he looked perfectly mise- 
rable, and I've no doubt he felt so. How he had been 
studying English on the voyage up I He wanted to be 
a great linguist, and had begun in good earnest. He 
said " good mornin' " as boldly as possible about seven 
p.m., and invariably spoke of the women of America as 
^^ him." He had an insane desire to spell, and started 



CHVMMING WITH A SAVAGE. 47 

spelling-matehes with everybody, at tiie most inappro- 
priate hours and inconvenient places. He invariably 
spelled God d-o-g; when duly corrected, — ^thus, G-o-d, 
— ^he would triumphandy shout, dog. He jumped at 
iliese irreverent condusions about twenty times a day. 

What an experience I had educating my little savage 1 
Walking him in the street by the hour; answering 
questions on all possible topics; spelling up and down 
the blocks; spelling from the centre of the city to the 
suburbs and back again, and around it ; spelling one 
another at spelling, — ^two latter-day peripatetics on dress 
parade, passing to and fro in high and serene strata of 
philosophy, alike unconscious of the rudely gazing and 
ilisolent citizens, or the tedious calls of labour. A spell 
was over us: we ran into all sorts of people, and trod on 
many a com, loafing about in this way. Some of the 
victims objected in harsh and sinful language. I found 
Kdna^n^ had so &.r advanced in the acquirement of our 
mellifluous tongue as to be very successful in returning 
their salutes. I had the greatest difficulty in convincing 
him of the enormity of his error. The little convert 
thought it was our mode of greeting strangers, equiva- 
lent to their more graceful and poetic password, Aloha j 
" Love to you." 

My little cannibal wasn't easily accustomed to his 
new restraints, such as clothes, manners, and forbidden 
water privileges. He several times started on his daily 
pilgrimage without his hat; once or twice, to save time, 
put his coat on next his skin; and though I finally so &r 
conquered him as to be sure that his shirt would be worn 
on ilie inside instead of the outside of his trousers (this 
he considered a great waste of material), I was in con- 



48 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

stant terror of his suddenly disrobing in the street and 
plunging into the first water we came to, — ^which bar- 
barous act would have insured his immediate arrest, 
perhaps confinement; and that would have been the next 
thing to death in his case. 

So we perambulated the streets and the suburbs, 
daily growing into each other's grace ; and I was 
thinking of the propriety of instituting a series of more 
extended excursions, when I began to realize that my 
guest was losing interest in our wonderful diy and the 
^ssible magnitude of her future. 

He grew silent and melancholy; he quitted spellinor 
entirely, or only indulged in rare and fitful (I am pained 
to add, fruitless) attempts at spelling God in the ortho- 
dox £skshion. It seemed almost as though I had missed 
my calling; certainly, I was hardly successful as a 
missionary. 

The circus fiuled to revive him; the beauiy of our 
young women he regarded without interest. He was 
less devout than at first, when he used to insist upon 
entering every church we came to and sitting a few 
moments, though frequently we were the sole occupants 
of the building. He would steal away into remote cor- 
ners of the house, and be gone for hours. Twice or 
three times I discovered him in a dark closet, in puria 
naturalilmsy toying with a singular shell strung upon a 
I feather chain. The feathers of the chain I recognized 
as those of a strange bird held as sacred among his 
people. I began to suspect the occasion of his malady: 
he believed himself bewitched or accursed of some one, 
— a conmion superstition with the dark races. This 
revebition filled me with alarm ; for he would think 



CHUMMING WITH A SAVAGE. 49 

nothing of lying down to die under the impression that 
it was his fete, and no medicine under the heaven could 
touch him further. 

I began telling him of mj discovery, begging his 
secret from him. In vain I besought him. ^^ It was 
his trouble; he must go back I" I told him he should 
go back as soon as possible; that we would look for 
ourselves, and see when a vessel was to saQ again. I 
took him among the wharves, visiting, in turn, nearly 
all the shipping moored there. How he lingered about 
them, letting his eyes wander over the still bay into the 
mellow hazes that sometimes visit our brown and dusiy 
hills! 

His nature seemed to find an affinity in the tranquil 
tides, the &r-sweeping distances, tiie alluring outlines 
of tiie coast, where it was blended witii tiie sea-line in 
the ever-mysterious horizon. After these visitations, he 
seemed loath to return again among houses and people; 
they oppressed and sufibcated him. 

One day, as we were wending our way to the ciiy 
front, we passed a specimen of grotesque carving, in 
front of a tobacconist's establishment. E&nar«n& stood 
eyeing the painted model for a moment, and then, to 
the amazement and amusement of tiie tobacconist and 
one or two bystanders, fell upon his knees before it, and 
was for a few moments lost in prayer. It seemed to do 
him a deal of good, as he was more cheerM after his 
invocation, — ^for that day, at least; and we could never 
start upon any subsequent excursion without first visit- 
ing this wooden Indian, which he evidenily mistook for 
a god. 

He began presently to bring tributes, in tiie shape of 

4 



50 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

small cobble-stones, wluch be surreptitiously deposited 
at the feet of his new-found deity, and passed on, rejoic- 
ing. His small altar grew from day to day, and his 
spirits were lighter as he beheld it unmolested, thanks 
to the indifference of the tobacconist and the street con- 
tractors. 

His greatest trials were within the confines of the 
bath-tub. He who had been bom to the Pacific, and 
reared among its foam and breakers, now doomed to a 
seven-by-three zinc box and ten inches of water I He 
would splash about like a trout in a saucer, bemoaning 
his &te. Pilgrimages to the beach were his greatest 
delight; divings into the sea, so far from town that no 
one could possibly be shocked, even with the assistance 
of an opera-glass. He used to implore a daily repetition 
of these cautious and inoffensive recreations, though, 
once in the chilly current, he soon came out of it, 
shivering and miserable. Where were his warm sea- 
waves, and the shining beach, with the cocoa-pahns 
quivering in tiie intense fires of the tropical day ? How 
he missed them and mourned for them, crooning a little 
diant in their praises, much to the disparagement of our 
dry hills, cold water, and careAil people ! 

In one of our singular walks, when he had been 
unusually silent, and I had sought in vain to lift away 
!lie gloom that darkened his soul, I was startled by a 
quick cry of joy fr<Mn the lips of the young exile, — ^a cry 
ttiat was soon turned into a sharp, prolonged, and pitiful 
wwl of sorrow and despair. We had unconsciously 
approached an art-gallery, the deep windows of whidh 
were beautified with a few choice landscapes in oil. 
K4na-an&'s restless and searching eye, doubtless attracted 



CHUMMING WITH A SA VAGE. 51 

by the brilliant colouring of one of the pictures, seemed 
in a moment to comprehend and assume the rich and 
fervent spirit with which the artist had so successfidly 
imbued his canvas. 

It was the subject which had at first delighted E&na- 
an&, — ^the splendid charm of its manipulation which so 
affected him, holding him there wailing in the bitterness 
of a natural and incontrollable sorrow. The painting 
was illuminated with the mellowness of a tropical sunset. 
A transparent light seemed to transfigure the sea and 
sky. The artist had wrought a miracle in his inspira- 
tion. It was a warm, hazy, silent sunset for ever. The 
outline of a high, projecting cliff was barely visible in 
the flood of misty glory that spread over the face of it, 
— a cliff whose delicate tints of green and crimson pic- 
tured in the mind a pyramid of leaves and flowers. A 
valley opened its shadowy depths through the sparkling 
atmosphere, and in the centre of this veiled chasm the 
pale threads of two water&lls seemed to appear and 
disappear, so exquisitely was the distance imitated. 
Gilded breakers reeled upon a palm-fringed shore ; and 
the whole was hallowed by the perpetual peace of an 
unbroken solitude. 

I at once detected the occasion of E^na-and's agita- 
tion. Here was the valley of his birth, — ^the diff, the 
water&ll, the sea, copied faithfrdly, at that crowning 
hour when they are indeed supernaturally lovely. At 
that moment, the promise to him of a return 
would have been mockery. He was there in spirit, 
pacing tiie beach, and greeting his companions with 
that liberal exchange of love peculiar to them. Again 
he sought our old haunt by the river, watching the sun 



Sa SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

go down. Again he waited listlessly the coming of 
night. 

It was a wonder that the police did not march ns 
both off to the station-honse ; for the little refugee was 
howling at the top of his lungs, while I endeavoured to 
quiet him by bursting a sort of vocal tornado about his 
ears. I then saw my error. I said to myself, " I have 
transplanted a flower from the hot sand of the Orient to 
the hard day of our more material world, — a flower too 
fragile to be handled, if never so kindly. Day after 
day it has been fed, watered, and nourished by Nature. 
Every element of life has ministered to its development 
in the most natural way. Its attributes are G-od's and 
Nature's own. I bring it hither, set it in our tough 
soil, and endeavour to train its sensitive tendrils in one 
direction. There is no room for spreading them here, 
where we are overcrowded already. It finds no succu- 
lence in its cramped bed, no warmth in our practical 
and selfish atmosphere. It withers from the root up- 
ward ; its blossoms are fiilling ; it wiQ die I " I re- 
solved it should not die. Unfortunately, there was no 
bark announced to sail for his island home within 
several weeks. I could only devote my energies to 
keeping life in that famishing soul until it had found 
rest in the luxurious dime of its nativity. 

At last the bark arrived. We went at once to see 
her ; and I could hardly persuade the little homesick 
soul to come back with me at night. He who was the 
fire of ^ hospitality and obliging to the uttermost^ at 
home, came very near to mutiny just then. 

It was this civilization that had wounded him, till the 
thought of his easy and pleasurable life among the 



CHUMMING WITH A SAVAGE. 53 

barbarians stung him to madness. Should ho ever see 
ihem again^ his lovers? ever climb with the goat- 
hunters among the clouds yonder ? or bathe, ride, sport, 
as he used to, till the day was spent and tiie night 
come? 

Those little booths near the wharves, where shells, 
corals, and gold-fish are on sale, were Kdnarand's 
fiivourite haunts during the last few days he spent here. 
I would leave him seated on a box or barrel by one of 
those epitomes of Oceanica, and return two hours later, 
to find him seated as I had left him, and singing some 
weird m^fo, — some legend of his home. These musical 
diversions were a part of his nature, and a very grave 
and sweet part of it, too. A few words, chanted on a 
low note, began the song, when the voice would sud- 
denly soar upward with a single syllable of exceeding 
sweetness, and there hang trembling in bird-like melody 
till it died away with the breath of the singer. 

Poor, longing soul I I would you had never left the 
life best suited to you, — ^that liberiy which alone could 
give expression to your wonderfiil capacities. Not 
many are so rich in instincts to read Nature, to trans- 
late her revelations, to speak of her as an orator en- 
dowed with her surpassing eloquence. 

It will always be a sad efibrt, thinking of that last 
night together. There are hours when the experiences 
of a lifetime seem compressed and crowded together. 
One grows a head taller in his soul at such times, and 
perhaps gets suddenly grey, as with a fright, also. 

Kdna-an& talked and talked in his pretty, broken 
English, telling me of a thousand charming secrets ; ex- 
pressing all the natural graces that at first attracted me 



54 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

to him, and imploring me over and over to return with 
him and dwell in the antipodes. How near I came to 
resolving, then and there, that I would go, and take the 
consequences, — ^how very near I came to it I He passed 
the night in coaxing, promising, entreating ; and was 
never more interesting or lovable. It took just about 
all the moral courage allotted me to keep on ihis side of 
barbarism on that eventM occasion ; and in the morn- 
ing KiiDaran& sailed, with a &ce all over tears, and 
agony, and dust. 

I begged him to select something for a remembrancer; 
and of all that ingenuity can invent and art achieve he 
chose a metallic chain for his neck, — chose it, probably, 
because it glittered superbly, and was good to string 
charms upon. He gave me the greater part of his 
wardrobe, though it can never be of any earthly use to 
me, save as a memorial of a passing joy in a life where 
joys seem to have little else to do than be brief and 
palatable. 

He said he should ^^ never want them again " ; and 
he said it as one might say something of the same sort 
in putting by some instrument of degradation,-oon. 
sdous of renewed manhood, but remembering his late 
humiliation, and bowing to that remembrance. 

So K&na-and and the bark, and all that I ever knew 
of genuine, spontaneous, and unfettered love, sailed into 
the west, and went down with the sun in a glory of 
air, sea, and sky, trebly glorious that evening. I shall 
never meet the sea when it is bluest without thinking of 
one who is its child and master. I shall never see man- 
goes and bananas without thinking of him who is their 
brother, bom and brought up with them. I i^ll never 



CHUMMING WITH A SA VA GR. 55 

smell cassia^ or cloye^ or jessamine, but a thonght of 
Kdna-and will be borne upon iheir breath. A flying 
skiff, land in the far distance rising slowly, drifting sea- 
grasses, a clear voice burdened with melody, — all belong 
to him, and are a part o£ him. 

I resign my office. I think that, perhaps, instead of 
my having converted the little cannibal, he may have 
converted me. I am sure, at least, that if we two should 
begin a missionary work upon one another, I should be 
the first to experience the great change. I sent my 
convert home, feeling he wasn't quite so good as when I 
first got him ; and I truly wish him as he was. 



I can see you, my beloved, — sleeping, naked, in the 
twilight of the west. The winds kiss you with pure and 
fragrant lips. The sensuous waves invite you to their 
embrace. Earth again offers you her varied store. Par- 
take of her offering, and be satisfied. Return, trou- 
bled soul 1 to your first and natural joys : they were 
given you by tiie Divine hand that can do no ill. In 
the smoke of the sacrifice ascends the prayer of your 
race. As the incense fadeth and is scattered upon the 
winds of heaven, so shall your people separate, never 
more to assemble among tiie nations. So perish your 
superstitions, your necromancies, your ancient arts of 
war, and the unwritten epics of your kings. 

Alas, K&nar-and I As the foam of the sea you love, 
as the fragrance of the flower you worship, shall your 
precious body be wasted, and your untrammelled soul 
pass to the realms of your fathers. 

Our day of communion is over. Behold how Night 



56 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

extends her wings to ooTer you from mj sight I She 
may, indeed^ hide your presence ; she may withhold from 
me the mystery of your ftiture : but ^e cannot take 
>om me tbat which I have ; she cannot rob me of the 
rich influences of your past. 

Dear comrade, pardon and absolve your spiritual ad- 
viser, for leeking to remould so delicate and original a 
soul as yours ; and, though neither prophet nor priest, 
I yet give you the kiss of peace at parting, and the 
benediction of unceasing love. 



PART m. 

BIBBABIAK DATS. 



Wx had been watching intently the &int, shadowy 
outline along the horizon, and wondering whether it 
were really land, or but a cloudy similitude of it ; while 
we bore down upon it all the afternoon in fine style, and 
the breeze freshened as evening came on. It was all 
dear sailing, and we were in pretty good spirits, — ^which 
is not always the case with landsmen at sea. 

Sitting there on the after-deck, I had asked myself, 
more than once. If life were made up of placid days like 
this, how long would life be sweet? I gave it up every 
time ; for one is not inclined to consider so curiously 
as to press any problem to a solution in those indolent 
latitudes. 

Perhaps it was Captain Kidd who told me he had 
sailed out of a twelve->knot breeze on a sudden, — ^slipping 



CHUMMING WITH A SAVAGE. 57 

off iiie edges of it, as it were, — and found his sails all 
aback as he slid into a dead calm. There, rocking in 
still weather, he saw another bark, almost within hafl^ 
blown into the west and out of sight, like a bird in a 
March gale. 

I wonder what caused me to think of Kidd*s experi- 
ences just then. I can't imagine, unless it was some 
prescient shadow floating in my neighbourhood, — ^the 
precursor of the little event that followed. Such things 
do happen, and when we least expect it ; though, fortu- 
nately, they don't worry us as a general thing. I didn't 
worry at all, but sat there by myself, while some of my 
fellow-passengers took a regular ^^constitutional" up 
and down the deck, and oyer and oyer it, until the ner- 
vous woman below in the cabin ^^ blessed her stars," and 
wished herself ashore. 

I preferred sitting and pondering over the cloud that 
seemed slowly to rise &om the sea, assuming definite 
and undeniable appearances of land. 

I knew very well what land it must be : one of a 
group of islands every inch of which I had traversed 
with the zeal of youthful enthusiasm ; but which of 
them, was a question I almost feared to have answered. 
Tet, what difference could it make to me I The land 
was providentially in our course, but not on our way- 
bill. If we were within gunshot of its loveliest portion, 
we must needs pass on as frigidly as though it were 
Charybdis, or something equally dreadftd ; and I began 
to thhik it might be something of the sort, because of its 
besetting temptations. 

Of course there was no doubt as to the certainty of its 
being land, when we went down to supper ; and at sun- 



58 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

set we knew the dark spots were valleys, and the bright 
ones hills. I &ncied a hundred bronze-hued feces were 
turned toward us, as we seemed to twinkle away oflF in 
their sunset sea like a fellen star, or something of that 
sort, I thought I could almost hear the sea beating 
upon the crusts of the reef in the twilight ; but perhaps 
I didn't, for the land was miles away, and night hid it 
presently, while the old solitude of the ocean impressed 
us all as though we were again in the midst of its un- 
broken, circular wastes. Tien they played whist in the 
cabin, — all but me. I hung over the ship's side, resolved 
to watch all night for the lights on shore, — the flickering 
watch-fires in the mountam camps ; for I knew I should 
see them, as we were bound to pass the island before 
morning. 

The night was intensely dark ; clouds muffled the 
stars, and not a spark of light was visible in any direc- 
tion over the waters. A shower could easily have 
quenched the beacons I was seeking, and my vigil soon 
became tedious ; so presently I followed the others and 
turned in, rather disconsolate and disgusted. 

Toward midnight the wind fell rapidly, and within 
half an hour we found ourselves in a dead calm, when 
the moan of the breakers was quite audible on our star- 
board quarter. The Captain was nervous and watchful; 
the currents in the channel were strong, and he saw, by 
the variation in the compass, that the vessel was being 
whirled in a great circle around a point of the island. 

Fortunately it began to get light before the danger 
grew imminent. At three o'clock we were within 
soundings, and shortly after we plumped the anchor 
into the rough coral at the bottom of a pretty little 



CHUMMING WITH A SAVAGE. S9 

harbour, where, the Captain informed us, we must ride 
all day and get out with the land breeze, that would pro- 
bably come down at night. I rushed up in the grey 
dawn, and bent my gaze upon the shore. I think I 
must have turned pale, or trembled a little, or done 
something sensational and appropriate, though no one 
observed it; whereat I was rather glad, on the whole, 
for they could not have understood it if I had done my 
best to explain, — ^which I had not the least idea of doing, 
however, for it was none of their affidr. 

I knew that place the moment I saw it, — ^the very 
spot of all I most desired to see; and I resolved, in my 
secret soul, to go ashore, there and then ; amicably if I 
might, forcibly if I musi 

The Captain was not over-genial that morning either; 
he hated detention, and was a trifle nervous about being 
tied up under the lee of the land for twelve or twenfy 
hours. So he growled if any one approached him all that 
day, and positively refused to allow the ship's boat to be 
touched, unless we drifted upon the rocks, broadside, — 
which, he seemed to think, was not entirely out of the 
question. I was sure there would be a canoe — ^perhaps 
several — alongside by sunrise ; so I said nothing, but 
\ waited in silence, determined to desert when the time 
came ; and the Captain might whistle me back if he 
could. 

Presently the time came. We were rocking easily 
on the swell, directly to the eastward of a deep valley. 
The sky was ruddy; the air &esh and invigorating, but 
soft as the gales of Paradise. We were in the tropics. 
You would have known it with your eyes shut ; the 
whole wonderful atmosphere confessed it. But, with 



6o SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

your eyes open, those white birds, sailing like snow- 
flakes through the immaculate blue heavens, with tail- 
feathers like our pennant ; the floating gardens of the 
sea, through which we had been ruthlesslj ploughing 
for a couple of days back ; the gorgeous sunrises and 
sunsets, — all were proofs positive of our latitude. 

What a sunrise it was on that morning I Yet I stood 
with my back to it, looking west ; for there I saw, 
firstly, the foam on the reef — as crimson as blood — 
falling over the wine-stained waves ; then it changed 
as the sun ascended, like clouds of golden powder, inde- 
scribably magnificent, shaken and scatterea upon the 
silver snow-drifts of the coral reef, dazzling to behold, 
and continually changing. 

Beyond it, in the still water, was reflected a long, 
narrow strip of beach; above it, green pastures and 
umbrageous groves, with native huts, like great birds'- 
nests, half hidden among them ; and the weird, slender, 
cocoa-palms were there, — those exclamation-points in the 
poetry of tropic landscape. All this lay slumbering se- 
curely between high walls of verdure ; while at the 
upper end, where the valley was like a niche set in the 
green aad glorious mountains, two waterfalls floated 
downward like smoke-columns on a heavy morning. 
Angels and ministers of grace 1 do you, in your airy 
perambulations, visit haunts more lovely than this ? — ^as 
lovely as that undiscovered country from whose bourne 
the traveller would rather not look back, premising that 
the traveller were as singularly constituted as I am ; 
which is, peradventure, not probable. 

They knew it was morning almost as soon as we did, 
though they lived a few ftirlongs fitrther west, and had 



CHUMMING WITH A SAVAGE. 6\ 

no notion of the immediate proximity of a strange craft, 
— ^by no means rakish in her rig, however ; only a 
simple merchantman, bound for Auckland from San 
Francisco, but the victim of circumstances, and, in 
consequence, tied to the bottom of the sea when half- 
way over. 

They knew it was morning. I saw them swarming 
out of their grassy nests, brown, sleek-limbed, and 
naked. They regarded with amazement our floating 
home. The news spread, and the groves were suddenly 
peopled with my dear barbarians, who hate civilization 
almost as much as I do, and are certainly quite as idola- 
trous and indolent as I ever aspire to be. 

I turned my palms outward toward them ; I lifted up 
my voice, and cried, ' Hail, my brothers 1 We hasten 
with the morning ; we follow after the sun. Greetings 
to you, dwellers in the West I " 

Nobody heard me. I looked again. Down they came 
upon the shore, wading into the sea. Then such a car- 
nival as they celebrated in the shallow water was a 
noveliy for some of my cabin friends; but I knew all 
about it. I'd done the same thing often enough myself, 
when I was young, and firee, and innocent, and savage. 
I knew they were asking themselves a thousand ques- 
tions as to our sudden appearance in their seas, and 
would rather like to know who we were, and where we 
were going, but scorned to ask us. They had once or 
twice been visited by the same sort of whitish-looking 
people^ and they had found those colourless &ces uncivil, 
and the bleached-out skins by no means to be trusted 
with those whom they considered their inferiors. They 
didn't know that it is one of the Thirty-nine Articles of 



62 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

Civilization to bully one's way through the world Then 
I prayed that they might be moved to send out a canoe, 
so that I could debark and go inland for the day. I 
prayed very earnestly, and out she came, — one of their 
tiny, fragile canoes, looking like a deserted chrysalis, 
with the invisible wings of the spiritual, tutelary butter- 
fly wafking it over the waves. In this chyrsalis dug-out 
sat a tough little body, with a curly head, which I recog- 
nized in a minute as belonging to a once friend and 
comrade in my delightfiil exile, when I was a successful 
prodigal, and wasted my substance in the most startling 
and effectual manner, and enjoyed it a great deal better 
than if I had kept it in the bank, as they advised me to 
do. On he came, beating the sea with his broad paddle, 
alternately by either side of the canoe, and regarding us 
with a commendable degree of suspicion. I greeted him 
in his peculiar dialect. The gift of tongues seemed sud- 
denly to have descended upon me, for I found little diffi- 
culty in saying everything I wanted to say, in a remark- 
ably brief space of time. 

"Hail, little friend!" said I; "great love to you 
How is it on shore now ? " 

He replied that it was decidedly nice on shore now, 
and that his love for me was as much as mine for him, 
and more too, and that consequently he was prepared to 
conduct me thither, regardless of expense. 

I went with that lovely boy on shore. The Captain 
could not resist my persuasive appeals for a short leave 
of absence, and so I went. Perhaps it would not have 
been advisable for him to have suppressed me ; and he 
made a c(.urteous virtue of necessity. 

I had leave to stop till evening, unless I heard a signal 



CHUMMING WITH A SA VA GE. 63 

gun, upon hearing which I was to return immediately on 
board, or suffer the consequences. 

Now, I am free to confess, that the consequences 
didn't appal me as we swung off from the vessel, where 
I had been an uneasy prisoner for many days; and I 
fell to chatting with Niga, my dusky friend, in a sort of 
desperate joy. 

Niga was a regular trump. He had more than once 
piled on horseback behind me, in the sweet days when 
we used to ride double, — yea, and even treble, if neces- 
sary. There was usually a great deal more boy than 
horse on the premises ; hence this questionable economy 
in our cavalry regulations. Niga told me many things 
as we drew near the reef : he talked of nearly every- 
body and everything ; but of all that he told me, he 
said nothing of the one I most longed to hear about. 
Yet, somehow or other, I could not quite bring myself 
to ask him, out and out, this question. You know, 
sometimes it is hard to shape words just as you want 
them shaped, and the question is never asked in conse- 
quence. 

The reef was growling tremendously. We were 
drawing nearer to it every moment. I thought the 
chances were against us ; but Niga was self-possessed, 
and as he had crossed it once that morning, and in the 
more dangerous direction of the two, — ^that is, against the 
[ grain of the waves, — I concluded there was no special 
need of my making a scene ; and in the next moment 
we were poised on a terrific cataract of glittering and 
rushing breakers, snatched up and held trembling in mid- 
air, with the canoe half filled with water, and I perfectly 
blind with spray. 



64 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

It was a memorable moment in a very short voyage; 
and the general verdict on board ship, where thej were 
watching ns with some interest, was, that it served me 
right. 

When my eyes were once more firee of the water, I 
found myself in the midst of the natives, who had 
been waiting just inside of the reef to receive us ; and, 
as they recognized me, they laid a hand on the canoe, as 
many as could crowd about it, &irly lifting it out of the 
water on our way to the shore, all the while wailing 
at the top of their voices their mournful and desolate 
wail. 

It was impossible for me to decide whether that chant 
of theirs was an expression of joy or sorrow; the nature 
of it is precisely the same, in eidier case. 

So we went on shore in our little triumphal proces- 
sion, and there I was embraced in a very emphatic 
manner by savages of every conceivable sex, age, and 
colour. Having mutely submitted to their genuine ex- 
pressions of love, I was conducted — a willing and bewil- 
dered captive — along the beach, around the little point 
that separates the river from the sea, and thence by the 
river-bank to the house I knew so well. I believe I 
looked at every dusky face in that assemblage, two or 
three times over, but saw not the one I sought. 

What could it mean ? Was he hunting in the moun- 
tains, or fishing beyond the headland, or sick, or in 
prison, that he came not to greet me ? Surely, some- 
thing had befidlen him, — something serious and unusual, 
— or he would have been the first to welcome me home 
tobaibarisml 

A strange dread clouded my mind: it increased and 



CHUMMING WITH A SAVAGE. 65 

multiplied as we passed on toward the house that had 
been home to me. Then^ having led me to the outer 
door, the people all sat there upon the ground, and 
began wailing piteouslj. 

I hastily crossed the narrow outer room, lifted the 
plaited curtain, and entered the inner chamber, where I 
had spent my strange, wild holiday long months before. 

I looked earnestly about me, while my eyes gradually 
became fiuniliar with the dull light. Nothing seemed 
changed. I could point at once to almost every article 
in the room. It seemed but yesterday that I had stolen 
away &om them in the grey dawn, and repented my 
desertion too late. 

I soon grew accustomed to the sombre light of the 
room. I saw sitting about me, in the comers, bowed 
figures, with their feces hidden in grief. There was no 
longer any doubt as to the nature of their emotion. It 
was grief that had stricken the household, and the grief 
that death alone occasions. I counted every figure in 
the room; I recognized each, the same that I had known 
when I dwelt among them: he alone was absent. 

I don't know what possessed me at that moment. I 
felt an almost uncontrollable desire to laugh, as though 
it were some tnasqu^ gotten up for my amusement. 
Then I wished they would cease their masking, for I 
felt too miserable to laugh. Then I was utterly at a 
loss to know what to do ; so I walked to the old- 
&shioned bed — our old-fashioned bed — ^in the comer, 
looking just as it used to. I think the same old spider 
was there still, clinging to the canopy ; the very same 
old fellow, in his harlequin tights, that we used to watch, 
and talk about^ and wonder what he was thinking of. 



66 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

to stop SO stilly day after daj^ and week after week^ 
up there on the canopy. I threw myself upon the 
edge of the bed, my feet resting upon the floor ; and 
there I tried to think of everything but that one dread- 
ful reality that would assert itself, in spite of my eflForts 
to deny it. 

Where was my friend? Where could he be, that 
these, his friends, were so bowed with sorrow? The 
question involved a revelation, already anticipated in 
my mind. That revelation I dreaded as I would dread 
my own deaths-sentence. But it came at last. A woman 
who had been humbling herself in the dust moved toward 
me from the shadow iliat half concealed her. She did 
not rise to her feet ; she was half reclining on the mats 
of the floor, her features veiled in the long, black hair 
of her race. One hand was extended toward me, then 
the other; the body followed; and so she moved, slowly 
and painfully, toward the bedside. 

It was his mother. I knew her intuitively. Close 
to the bed she came, and crouched by me, upon the 
floor. There, with one hand clasped close over mine, 
the other flooded with her copious tears, and her fore- 
head bowed almost to the floor, she poured forth the 
measure of her woe. The moment her voice was heard, 
those out of the house ceased wailing, and seemed to be 
listening to the elegy of the bereaved. 

Her voice was husky with grief, broken again and 
again with sobs. I seemed to understand perfectly the 
nature of her story, though my knowledge of the dialect 
was very deficient. 

The mother's soul was quickened with her pathetic 
Ibeme. The frenzy of the poet inspired her lips. It 



CHUMMING WITH A SAVAGE. «7 

was an epic she was chanting, celebrating the career of 
her boy-hero. She told of his birth, and wonderful 
childhood ; of his beautiM strength ; of his sublime 
affection, and the friend it had brought him &om over 
the water. 

She referred frequently to our former associations, 
and seemed to delight in dwelling upon them. Then 
came the story of his death, — ^the saddest canto of the 
melancholy whole. 

How shall I ever forgive myself the selfish pleasure I 
took in striving to remodel an immortal soul ? What 
business had I to touch so sensitive an orgimism; sus- 
ceptible of infinite impressions, but incapable, in its 
prodigality, of separating and dismissing the evil, and 
retaining only the good, — ^therefore fit only to increase 
and develop in the suitable atmosphere with which the 
Creator had surrounded it? 

Why did I not foresee the climax? 

I might have known that one reared in the nursery 
of Nature, as free to speak and act as the very winds of 
heaven to blow whither they list, could ill support the 
manacles of our modern proprieties. Of what use to 
him could be a knowledge of the artifices of society? 
Simply a temptation and a snare I 

What was the story of his fate ? That he came safely 
home, rejoicing in his natural freedom; that he could 
not express his delight at finding home so pleasant; that 
his days were spent in telling of the wonderful things 
he had seen: more sects than the gods of the South 
Seas; more doubters than believers; contradictions, and 
insults, and suspicions everywhere. They laughed again, 
when they thought of us, and pitied us all the while* 



68 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

But his exhilaration wore off, afker a time. Then 
came the reaction. A restlessness; an undefined, un- 
satisfied longing. Life became a burden. The seed of 
dissension had fidlen in fresh and fiedlow soil: it was a 
souvenir of his sojourn among us. He, the child of 
Nature, must now follow out the artificial and hollow 
life of the world, or die unsatisfied; for he could not 
return to his original sphere of trust and contentment. 
He had learned to doubt all things, as naturally as any 
of us. 

For days he moaned in spirit, and was troubled ; 
nothing consoled him ; his soul was broken of its rest ; 
he grew desperate and melancholy. 

I believe he was distracted with the problem of 
society, and I cannot wonder at it. One day, when 
his condition had become no longer endurable, he stole 
off to sea in his canoe, thinking, perhaps, that he could 
reach this continent, or some other; possibly hoping 
never again to meet human &ces, for he could not trust 
them. 

It was his heroic exit from a life that no longer in-^ 
terested him. Great was the astonishment of the 
islanders, who looked upon him as one possessed of the 
Evil Spirit, and special sacrifices were offered in his 
behalf ; but the gods were inexorable ; and, after 
several days upon the solitary sea, a shadow, a mote, 
drifted toward the valley, — a canoe, with a fitmishing 
and delirious voyager, that was presently tossed and 
broken in the surges ; then, a dark body glistened for a 
moment, wet with spray, and sank for ever, while the 
shining coral reef was stained with the blood of the 
first-bom. 



CHUMMING WITH A SAVAGE. 69 

I heard it all in the desolate wail of the mother, yet 
conld not weep ; my eyes burned like fire. 

Little Niga came for me presently, and led me into 
the great grove of AxzmaTie-trees, up the valley. He 
insisted upon holding me by the hand : it was all he 
could do to comfort me, and he did that with his whole 
soul. 

In silence we pressed on to one of the largest of the 
trees. I recognized it at once. Niga and I, one day, 
went thither, and I cut a name upon the soft bark of 
the tree. 

When we reached it we paused. Niga pointed with 
his finger ; I looked. It was there yet, — a simple 
name, carved in the rudest &shion. I read the letters, 
which had since become an epitaph. They were 
these : — 

"Kana-akI, Mi. 16 yr«.» 

Under them were three initials, — ^my own, — cut by the 
iand of K&na^an&, after his return from America. 

We sat down in the gloomy grove. " Tell me," I 
said, " tell me, Niga, where has his spirit gone ? " 

" He is here, now," said Niga ; " he can see us. 
Perhaps, some day, we shall see him." 

" You have more faith than our philosophers, for they 
have reasoned themselves out of everything. Would 
you like to be a philosopher, Niga ? " I asked. 

Niga thought, if they were going to die, body and 
soul, that he wouldn't like to be anything of the sort, 
and that he had rather be a first-class savage than a 
fourth-rate Christian, any day. 

I interrupted him at this alarming assertion. ^^ The 



TO SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

philosophers would call your faith a superstition^ Niga ; 
they do not realize that there is no true &ith unmixed 
widi superstition^ since fidth implies a belief in some- 
thing unseen, and is, therefore, itself a superstition. 
Blessed is the man who believes blindly, — call it what 
you please, — ^for peace shall dwell in his soul. But, 
Niga," I continued, " where is God ? " 

" Here, and here, and here," said Niga, pointing me 
to a grotesque carving in the sacred grove, to a monu- 
ment upon the distant precipice, and to a heap of rocks 
in the sea ; and the smile of recognition with which the 
little votary greeted his idols was a solemn proof of his 
sincerity. 

"Niga," I said, "we call you and your kind heathens. 
It is a harmless anathema, which cannot, in the least, 
affect you personally. Ask us if we love God ! Of 
course we do. Do we love Him above all things, 
animate or inanimate? Undoubtedly! Undoubtedly 
is easily said, and let us give ourselves credit for some 
honesty. We believe that we do love God above all ; 
that we have no other gods before Him ; yet, who of us 
will give up wealth, home, friends, and follow Him ? 
Not one I The God we love is a very vague, invisible, 
forbearing essence. He can afford to be lenient with 
us while we are debating whether our neighbour is 
serving Him in the right fashion, or not. We'd rather 
not have other gods before Bin : one is as many as 
we find it convenient to serve. The lover kisses pas- 
sionately a miniature. It is not, however, an image of 
his Creator, nor any memorial of his Eedeemer's passion, 
but only a portrait of his mistress. Do you blame us, 
Niga? It is the strongest instinct of our nature to 



CHUMMING WITH A SAVAGE. 71 

worship something. Man is a bom idolater, and not 
one of ns is exempted by reason of any scruples under 
the sun. You see it daily and hourly : each one has 
his idols." 

Little Niga, who sympathized deeply with me, seemed 
to have gotten some knowledge of our peculiarly mixed 
theories concerning God and the future state, from con- 
versations overheard after the return of Kdna-an^ He 
tried to console me witJi the assurance that Kdna-aniL 
died a devoted and unshaken adherent to the faitJi of 
his fathers. 

I couldn't but feel that his blood was off my hands 
when I learned this ; and I believe I s^ave Ni^^a a 
regular hug in ihat moment of joy. 

Then we walked here and there, through the valley, 
and visited the old haunts, made memorable by many 
incidents in that romantic and chivalrous life of the 
8outh. Every one we met had some word to add 
concerning the Pride of the Valley, dead in his glorious 
yontL 

Over and over, they assured me of his fideliiy to me, 
his white brother, adding that Kdna-and had, more than 
once, expressed the deepest regret at not having brought 
me back with him. 

He even meditated sending for me, in the same man- 
ner that I had sent for him ; and, if he had done so, it 
was his purpose to see that I was at once made familiar 
with their Articles of Faith; for he anticipated a willing 
convert in me, and it was the desire of his heart that I 
should know that perfect trust, peculiar to his people, 
and which is begotten of the brief gospel, so often 
quoted out of place: namely, that "seeing is believing." 



7a SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

It was a kind thoaght of his^ and I wish he had 
carried it into execution, for then he might have lived. 
It was his susceptible nature that had come in contact 
with the great world, and received its death-wound. 
^ Had I been there to help him, I would have planned 
something to divert his mind until he had recovered 
himself, and was willing to submit to the monotony of 
life over yonder. Had he not done as much for me ? 
Had he not striven, day after day, to charm me with his 
barbarism, and come very near to success? I should 
say he had. Dear little marlyr I was he not the only boy 
I ever truly loved, — dead now in his blossoming prime I 

K&na-anik I Little Niga and I sat talking of you, 
down by the sea, and we wept for you at last ; for the 
tears came by-and-by, when I began to fully realize the 
greatness of my loss. All your youth, and beauiy, and 
freshness, in destruction, and your body swallowed up 
in the graves of the sea I 

The meridian sun blazed overhead, but it made little 
difference to us. Afternoon passed, and evening was 
coming on almost unheeded ; for our thoughts were 
buried with him, under the waves, and life was nothing 
to us, then. 

1 no longer cared to observe the lights and shadows 
on the cliffs, nor the poppy nodding in the wind, nor 
the seaward prospect : that was spoiled by our vessel, — 

. the seclusion was broken in upon. I cared for nothing 
any longer, for I missed everywhere his step, patient 
and faithftd as a dog's, and his marvellous face, that 
could look steadily at the sun without winking, and 
deluge itself with laughter all the while, for there was 
nothing hidden or corrupting in it. 



CHUMMING WITH A SAVAGE. 73 

Presenilj I retamed into the sacred groye, touching 
the three letters he had carved there, and calling on his 
spirit to regard me as respecting his dumb idols, which 
were nothing bnt the representatives of his jealous gods, 
^-dear to him as the Garden of G^thsemane, the Mount 
of Olives, and the shining summits of Calvary to us. 
Then down I ran to the bathing-pools, and from place 
to place I wandered in a hurried and nervous tour, for 
it was growing darL I saw the ship's lights flickering 
over the water, while the first cool whispers of the 
night-wind came down from the hills, filling me with 
warnings ; in the midst of which there was a flash of 
flame and a sudden, thunderous report, — enough to 
awaken the dead of the valley, — ^and I turned to go, I 
believe, if dear Kdna-an& had been there, as I prayed 
he might be, I should have laughed at that signal, and 
hastened inland to avoid discovery ; for I was sick of 
the world. I might have had reason to regret it after- 
ward, because friendship is not elastic, and the best of 
friends cannot long submit to being bored by the best 
of fellows. Perhaps it was just as it should be : I had 
no time to consider the matter there. I hurried to his 
mother, and she dung to me ; others came about me, 
and laid hold of me : so that I feared I should be held 
captive until it was too late to board the vessel. Her 
sails were even then shaking in the wind ; and I heard 
the faint click of the capstan tugging at the anchor- 
chains. 

With a quick impulse I broke away from them, and 
ran to the beach, where Niga and I entered his canoe, 
and slid off from the sloping sands. Down we drifted 
toward the open sea, while the natives renewed their 



74 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

wailing, and I was half crazed with sorrow. It is im- 
possible to resist the persuasive eloquence of their 
chants. Think, then, with what a troubled spirit I 
heard them, as we floated on between the calm stars in 
the heavens and the whirling stars in the sea. 

We went out to the ship's side, and Uttle Niga was 
as noisy as any of them when I pressed upon him a 
practical memorial of my visit; and away he drifted 
into the night, with his boyish babble pitched high and 
shrill : and the Present speedily became the Past, and 
grew old in a moment. 

Then I looked for the last time upon that faint and 
cloudy picture, and seemed almost to see the spirit of 
the departed beckoning to me with waving arms and 
imploring looks ; and I longed for him with the old 
longing, that will never release me from my willing 
bondage. I blessed him in his new life, and I rejoiced 
with exceeding great joy that he was freed at last from 
the tyranny of life, — released from the unsolvable 
riddles of the ages. The night-wind was laden with 
music, and sweet with the odours of ginger and cassia ; 
the spume of the reef was pale as the milk of the cocoa- 
nuts, and the blazing embers on shore glowed like old 
sacrificial fires. 

Then I head a voice crying out of the shadow, — an 
ancient and eloquent voice, — saying: "Behold my fated 
race! Our days are numbered. Long have we feasted 
in the rich presence of a revealed deity. We sat in 
ashes under the mute gods of Baal ; we fled before the 
wrath of Moloch, the destroyer ; we were as mighty as 
the four winds of heaven : but the profane hand of the 
Iconoclast has desecrated our temples, and humbled 



CHUMMING WITH A SAVAGE, 75 

our majesty in the dust. impious breakers of idols I 
why will ye put your new wines into these old bottles, 
that were shaped for spring waters only, and not for 
wine at all I Lo ! ye have broken them, and the wme 
is wasted. Be satisfied, and depart 1 " 

So that spirit of air sang the death-song of his tribe, 
and the sad music of his voice rang over tie waters like 
a lullaby. 

Then I heard no more, and I said, " My asylum is the 
great world ; my refuge is in oblivion ;" and I turned 
my face seaward, never again to dream fondly of my 
island home ; never again to know it as I have known 
it ; never again to look upon its serene and melancholy 
beauty : for tlie soul of the beloved is transmitted to the 
vales of rest, and his ashes are sown in the watery fur- 
rows of the deep sea I 




TABOO.— A FETE-DAY IN TAHITI. 

T was on one of those vagabond pilgrimages 
to nowhere in particular^ such as every 
stranger is bonnd to make in a strange 
land, that I first stumbled upon my royal 
Jester, better known in Tahiti as Taboo. 

Great Jove I what a night it was I A wild ravine 
fuU of banyan and pandanus trees, and of parasite 
climbers, and the thousand nameless leafing and blos- 
soming creatures that intermarry to such an alarming 
extent in the free-loving tropics, had tempted me to 
pasture there for a little while. I was wandering on 
among roots and trailing branches, and under ropes upon 
ropes of flowers that seemed to swing suddenly across 
my path on purpose to keep me from finding too easily 
the secret heart of the mountain. I felt it was right 
that I should be made to realize how sacred a spot that 
sanctuary of Nature was, but I fretted somewhat at the 
persistency of those speechless sentinels who guarded its 
outer door so faithfully. There was a waterfall within 
that I had prayed to see, — one of those mysterious water- 
falls that descend noiselessly from the bosom of a doud, 
stealing over cushions of moss, like a ray of light in a 
dream, or something else equally intangible. 



TABOO.-'A FETE'DA Y IN TAHITI. 77 

Yon never find this sort of waterfall in the common 
way. No one can exactly point it out to you ; but you 
must search for it yourself, and listen for its voice, — 
and usually listen in vain, — ^till, suddenly, you come 
upon it in a moment, almost as if by accident ; and its 
whole quivering length glitters and glistens with jewels, 
where it hangs, like a necklace, on the bosom of a great 
cliff. It is the only visible chain that binds earth to 
heaven ; and no wonder you gaze at it with questioning 
eyes! 

Well, while I was looking about me, expecting every 
moment to feel the damp breath of the waterfidl upon 
my forehead, night came down. Where was I? In 
the midst of a pathless forest; between cliffs whose 
sleek, mossy walls were so steep as to forbid even the 
goat's sharp hoof. Down the hollow of the ravine, 
among round, slippery rocks, and between trellises of 
giant roots, tumbled a mountain torrent. No human 
form visible, probably none to be looked for on that side 
of the inaccessible dome of the mountain ; yet fearlessly 
I toiled on, knowing that food and shelter were on every 
side, and that no hand, whose clasp was as fervent as 
the clasp of the vine itself, would be raised against me ; 
and, thank Heaven I outsiders were scarce. 

In the midst of the narrowing chasm, with the night 
tihickening, and the wood growing more and more ob- 
jectionable, I heard a sound as of stumbling feet before 
me. My first thought was of colour ! I would scarcely 
trust a white man in that predicament. What well- 
disposed White would be prowling, like a wild animal, 
alone in a forest at night? It occurred to me that I 
was white, or had passed as such ; but I know and have 



78 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

always known that, inwardly, I am purple-blooded, and 
snpple-limbed, and invisibly tattooed after the manner 
of my lost tribe I I was startled at the sonnd, and 
slackened my pace to listen : the footsteps paused with 
mine. I plunged forward, accusing the echoes of play- 
ing me false. Again the mysterious one rushed awk- 
wardly on before me, with footfalls that were not like 
mine, nor like any that I could trace: they were neither 
brute nor human, but fell dumsily among the roots and 
stones, out of time with me ; therefore, no echo, and 
beyond m^ reckoning entirely. 

At this hour the moon, of a favourable size, looked 
over the diff, flooding the chasm with her soft light. I 
rejoiced at it, and hoped for a revelation of the Un- 
known, whose tottering steps had mocked mine for half 
an hour. 

Here we were in a forest of bread-fruit trees. 
Scarcely a ray of light penetrated their thick-woven 
branches ; but, against the fiiint light of the open dis- 
tance, I marked the weird outline of one who might 
once have been human, but was no longer a tolerable 
image of his Maker. The figure was like the opposite 
halves of two men bodily joined together in an amateur 
attempt at himian grafting. The trunk was curved the 
wrong way; a great shoulder bullied a little shoulder, 
and kept it decidedly under; a long leg walked right 
around a short leg that was perpetually sitting itself 
down on invisible seats, or swinging itself for the mere 
pleasure of it. One arm clutched a ten-foot bamboo 
about three inches in diameter, and wielded it as though 
it were a bishop's crook, and something to be proud of; 
the other arm — ^it must have belonged to a child when it 



TABOO,— A FETE'DA Y IN TAHITI. 79 

stopped growing — ^was hooked up over one ear, looking 
as though it had been badly wired by some medical stu- 
dent, and was worn as a lasting reproach to him. A 
shaggy head was set on the down-slope of the big 
shoulder, and seemed to be continually looking over the 
httle shoulder and under the little arm for some one 
always expected, but who was very long in coming* 

Upon this startling discovery I turned to flee, but the 
figure immediately followed. It was evidently too late 
to escape an interview, and, taking heart, I walked 
toward it, when, to my amazement, it hastily staggered 
away from me, looking always over its shoulder, quicken- 
ing its pace with mine, slackening ^ts speed with me, 
and keeping, or seeking to keep, within a certain dis- 
tance of me all the while. My curiosity was excited, 
and, as I saw it bore me no iU-will, I made a quick 
plunge forward, hoping to capture it. With an eper- 
getic effort it strove to escape me ; but, with the head 
turned the wrong way, it stumbled blindly into a bit of 
jungle, where it lay whining piteously. I assisted it to 
its feet, with what caution and tenderness I could, and, ' 
finding it still wary, walked on slowly, leading the way 
to the edge of the grove, where the moonlight was 
almost as radiant as the dawn. It followed me like a 
dog, and was evidently grateful for my company. I 
walked slowly that it might not stumble, and, as we 
emerged from the shadow of the bread-fruits, I manoeu- 
vered so as to bring its face toward the moonlight, and 
I saw — ^a hideous visage, with all its features sliding to 
one comer ; and nothing but the two soft, sleepy-looking 
eyes saved me from yielding to the disgust that its whole 
presence awakened. As it was, I involuntarily started 



So SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

back with a shudder, and a slight exclamation that at- 
tracted its attention. '^ Taboo I Taboo I " moaned th^ 
poor creature^ half in introduction; half in apology and 
explanation. 

He was well named the ^^ forbidden one '^ set apart 
from all his fellows ; incapable of utterance ; maimed in 
body; an outcast among his own people; homeless, yet 
at home everywhere ; friendless, though welcomed by 
all for his entertaining and ludicrous simplicity; feedings 
like the birds, from Nature's lap, and, like the birds, left 
to the winds and waters for companionship. 

Somehow I felt that Taboo could lead me at once to 
the waterfisdl ; and I tried to seek out the small door to 
his brain, and impress him with my anxiety to reach the 
place. 0, what darkness was there, and what doubts 
and fears seemed to doud the hidden portals of his soul I 
He made an uncouth noise for-me. Perhaps he meant 
it as music : it was frightful to hear it up there in the 
mountain solitudes. He got me fruits and a little water 
in the palm of his hand, which he expected me to drink 
with a relish. He lay down at my feet in a broken 
heap of limbs, crooning complacently. He was playful 
and thoughtful alternately ; at least, he lost himself in 
long sQences from time to time, while his eyes glowed 
with a deep inward light, that almost made me hope to 
startle his reason from its dreadful sleep ; but a single 
word broke the spell, and set him to laughing as though 
he would go all to pieces ; and his joy was more pitiftd 
than his sorrow. 

In one of his sQent moods he suddenly staggered to 
his feet, and shambled into a narrow trail to one side of 
the gorge. I wondered at his unexpected impulse, and 



TABOO,— A FETE'DA Y IN TAHITI. 8l 

feared that he had grown tired of me already, preferring 
the society of his feathered comrades, a few of whom 
sounded their challenge-note, that soared like silver 
arrows in the profound stillness of the ravine. It seemed 
not, however : in a few moments he returned, and sig- 
nalled me with his expressive grunt, and I followed him. 
Through thickets of fern, arching high over our heads, 
down spongy dells, and over rims of rock jutting from 
the base of the mountain, Taboo and I clambered Iq the 
warm moonlight. Anon we came upon a barricade of 
bamboos, growing like pickets set one against another. 
I know not how broad the thicket might have been, — 
possibly as broad as the ravine itself, — ^but into the thick 
of it Taboo edged himself ; and close upon his heels I 
followed. In a few moments we had crushed our way 
through the midst of the bamboos, that clashed together 
after us so that a bird might not have tracked us, and 
lo I a crystal pool in the heart of a wonderftil garden ; 
and to it, silently, from heaven itself descended that 
mysterious water&ll, whose actual existence I had seri- 
ously begun to question. It lay close against the breast 
of tie mountain, strangely pale in the full glow of the 
moon, while, like a vein of fire, it seemed to throb from 
end to end ; or like a shining thread with great pearls 
slipping slowly down its ftdl length, taking the &int 
hues of the rainbow as they fell, playing at prisms, until 
my eyes, weary of watching, closed of their own accord. 
I sank down by Taboo, who was sleeping soundly in the 
hollow of a great tree ; and the one cover for both of us 
was the impenetrable shadow that is never lifted from 
that silent sanctuary of the Most High. 

The sky was as saffron when we woke from our out- 

6 



8i SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS, 

of-door deep, and the whole atmosphere was less poetical 
and impressive than on the night previous. Stranger 
than all else, there was no visible trace of the mysterious 
water&ll. I even began to question my own senses, and 
thought it possible that I had been dreaming. Yet there 
sat Taboo in his frightful imperfection, as happy and in- 
different as possible. Of course he could tell me nothing 
of the magical waters. He had doubtless already for- 
gotten the episode of the hour previous. He lived for 
the solitary moment, and his mind seemed unable to 
grasp the secrets of ten seconds on either side of his 
narrow present. In fact, he was playing with a splendid 
lizard when I returned from my brief and fruitless re- 
connoissance; and as I came up he wondered at me, as he 
never ceased to wonder, with fresh bewilderment, when- 
ever I came back to him, after never so brief an absence. 

I soon learned to play upon Taboo's one stop; to 
point a finger at him, and bore imaginary auger-holes 
right into him anywhere; for he always winced and 
whined, like a very baby, and yielded at once to my 
pantomimic suggestion. But what a wreck was here 1 
A delicate instrument, full of rifts and breakages, with 
that single key readily answerable to the slightest touch 
of my will. I have often wished that it had been a 
note more deep, profound, or sympathetic. It was 
simply merry and shrill, and incapable of any modulation 
whatever. Point a finger at him, make a few coils in 
the air that grow to a focus as they draw nearer to him, 
and he would run over with uncontrollable jollity that 
was at times a little painM in its boi terousness. 

I knew well enough that I had sucked the honey 
from that particular cell in the mountain^ and ihat I 



TABOO.—A FETE'DA Y IN TAHITI. 83 

might as well resume my pilgrimage. There was to be 
a F^ NapoUon in Papeete. We hadn't heard, up to 
that hour, of the wreck of the great Empire, and, being 
in a loyal French colony, it behoved us to have the 
very best time possible. Said I to myself, " Taboo will 
find sufficient food for merriment in our mode oifdting 
an Emperor; therefore Taboo shall go with me to town 
and enjoy himself." I suggested an immediate adjourn- 
ment to Papeete with the tip of my forefinger, whereat 
Taboo doubled up, as usual, and, in his own fashion, 
implored me to stop being so funny. We at once 
started; returning through the bamboo-brakes, fording 
the stream in some awkward way, and slowly working 
our passage back to town. 

The Tahitians have but one annual holiday. As this, 
however, is seventy-two hours in length, while every- 
thing relating to it is broad in proportion, it is about as 
much as they can conscientiously ask for. 

Taboo and I entered the town on the eve of the first 
day, together with multitudes from the neighbouring 
districts, flocking thither in their best clothes. The 
lovely bay of Papeete was covered with fleets of canoes, 
hailing firom all the seaside villages on the island, 
and many of them from Moorea, and islands even more 
distant. No sea is too broad to be compassed by an 
ambitious Kanack, who scents a festival from afar. 

Along the crescent shores of the bay, the canoes were 
heaped, tier upon tier. It was as though a whole South 
Sea navy had been stranded, for the town was crowded 
with canoe-boys and all manner of natives, in gala dress. 
The incessant rolling of drums, the piping of bamboo- 
flutes, and the choruses of wandering singers began 



84 SUMMER CRUlSmG IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

early in the dawn of iihe 14th August, and were expected 
to continue, uninterruptedly, to the evening of the 16tL 
Taboo regarded it all with singular indifference. Every- 
body seemed to know him, and to take particular delight 
in greeting him. His sleepy disregard of them ^ 
considered extremely laughable, and they went their 
way roaring with merriment, that contrasted strongly 
with the grave, listless face of the simple one, who was 
apparently oblivious of everything. 

The morning after we appeared in Papeete was Sun- 
day, according to the calendar. The little cathedral, 
with banana-leaves rustling in the open windows, was 
thronged with worshippers of all colours, doubly devout 
in the excessive heat. Various choirs relieved one 
another during Mass, and some diminutive fellows, 
under ten years of age, chanted Latin hymns in a pleas- 
ingly plaintive voice, led by a friar in long clothes and 
a choker. Taboo crouched by the open door during 
service, raking the gravel-walk with his crooked fingers, 
and hitching about with indefiitigable industry. After 
the last gospel, we all went into the middle of the 
street — for there were no sidewalks — and got our boots 
very dusty. Little knots of friends seemed to sit down 
in the way wherever they pleased, and to talk as long 
as they liked; while everybody else accommodatingly 
turned out for them, or paused, and listened to the 
conversation, without embarrassment on either side- 
Liquor was imbibed on the sly; some eyes were begin- 
ning to swim perceptibly, and some tongues to wag 
faster and looser than ever. The Admiral's flag-ship 
was one pyramid of gorgeous bunting, and his band 
delighted a great audience, gathered upon the shore^ 



TABOO.—A FETE'DA Y IN TAHITI. 85 

with a matinie gratis. At sunset the imperial bat- 
teries belched their sulphurous thunder, that came as 
near to breaking the Sabbath as possible. In the evening 
more music, up at the Governor's garden, — ^waltzes, 
polkas, and quadrilles, so brilliantly executed that the 
listeners were half mad with delight; and you couldn't 
for the life of you tell what day it had been, nor what 
night it was, but Sunday was positively set down against 
it in the calendar. At ten p.m. a signal-gun says 
"'Grood-night" to the citizens of Papeete, and it behoves 
all those who are dark-skinned to retire instantly, on 
pain of arrest and a straw-heap in the calaboose. 

In the midst of our Sunday festival, while yet the 
streets were hilarious, slap-bang went this impudent 
piece of ordnance, and at once the crowd began to dis- 
perse in the greatest confusion. Taboo, who had been 
an inanimate spectator during the day's diversions, 
seemed to comprehend the necessity of hasty flight to 
some quarter or other; and, with a confusion of ideas 
peculiar to him, he began careering in great circles 
through the swaying multitude, and continued to revolve 
around an uncertain centre, until I seized him and 
sought to pilot him to some convenient place of shelter. 
I thought of the great market, that, like those ancient 
cities of refuge, was always open to the benighted wan- 
derer; and thither we hastened. A lofty roof, covering 
a good part of a block, kept the rain from a vast enclo- 
sure, stored with stalls, tables, and benches. It was 
simply shelter of the barest kind, but sufiicient for all 
needs in that charitable climate. There was a buzzing 
of turbulent throngs as we edged our way toward the 
centre of the market-place ; you would think that all 



86 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEA. 

the bees of Tahiti were swarming in nnison, from the 
noise thereof. The commotion was long in quieting. It 
had to subside like the sea at flood-tide. Every Mttle while 
a brace o{ gendarTnes strutted past the premises, feeling 
mighty fine in their broad white pants, like a ship with 
studding-sails out, and with those comical bobtails 
sprouting out of the small of their backs. I know that 
Taboo and I, having laid ourselves on somebody's 
counter, listened and nudged each other for two or 
three hours, and that it began to feel like morning 
before there was sleep enough to go entirely around the 
establishment. 

The man who is the first to wake in Papeete lights 
his lamp and goes to market. As soon as he makes his 
untimely appearance, the community begins to stir ; a 
great clatter of drowsy voices and dozens of yawns are the 
symptoms of retumingday ; and in ten minutes the market 
is declared open, though it is still deep and tranquil 
starlight overhead, with not a trace of dawn as yet visible. 

When the market opens before 3 a.m. — and the hour 
happens to be the blackest of the four-and-twenty — ^it is 
highly inconvenient for any foreigner and his royal 
jester who may be surreptitiously passing the night 
upon one of the fruit counters, but there is no help for 
them : sleepy heads give way to fresh-gathered bread- 
fruits and nets of fragrant oranges ; bananas are swung 
up within tempting reach of everybody ; all sorts of 
natives come in from the four quarters of liie Papeetean 
globe, with back-loads of miscellaneous viands, a mat 
under one arm, and a flaming torch in hand. Rows 
upon rows of girls sell fruits and flowers to the highest 
bidder ; withering old women haggle over the prices 



TABOO.^A FETE-DA Y IN TAHITI. S7 

of iih^ perfumed and juicy wares ; solitary men oflFer 
iheir solitary strings of fish for a real each, and reftise 
to be beaten down by any wretch of a fellow who 
dares to insinuate that the fish are a trifle too scaly; 
boys sit demure over their meagre array of temptations 
in the shape of six tomatoes, three eggs, a dozen or so 
of guayas, and one cucumber. These youngsters usually 
sit with a passionless countenance that forbids any hope 
of a bargain at reduced prices, and they pass an hour or 
two with scarce a suggestion of custom ; but it is sud- 
denly discovered that they have something desirable, 
and a dozen purchasers begin quarrelling for it, during 
which time some one else quietly makes his purchase 
from one comer of ti.e V/ mat ; andf having 
dosed out his stock in less than ten minutes, he 
quietly pockets his reala^ and departs without having 
uttered a syllable. 

Taboo and I went from one mat to another, eyeing the 
good things for breakfast. I offered him the best that 
the market afforded ; and I could easily do so, for in no 
land is the article cheaper or better. Taboo, having 
made the circuit of the entire establishment, upon ma- 
ture deliberation concluded to take nothing. At every 
point he was greeted uproariously by the noisy and 
good-natured people, who were willing to give him any- 
thing he might choose to take. They, probably, felt 
that it was worth more than the price of the article to 
see the sublime scorn on the poor fellow's face as he de- 
clined their limes, feiSj mangoes, or whatever delicious 
morsel it might have been. As for me, I couldn't resist 
those seductions. I made my little purchases and with- 
drew to the sea^de^ where I could break my &st by sun- 



88 . SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

rise, and enjoy comparative quiet. Taboo griiined in 
the market-place till he was weary of the applause 
showered upon him by the ungodly, who made light of 
his irreparable misfortune and took pleasure in his 
misery. He hunted me up, or, rather, stumbled upon 
me again, and stayed by me, amusing himself with pelt- 
ing the fish that sported, like sunbeams and prisms, in 
the sea dose at our feet. 

It was fite-da,y in Tahiti. I sat, at sunrise, by the 
tideless margin of a South Sea lagoon, bristiing witii 
coral and glittering with gem-like fish. In either hand 
I held a mango and banana. I raised the mango to my 
lips. What a marvel it was 1 A plump vegetable egg, 
full of delusion, and stuffed with a homy seed nearly as 
large as itself. It had a fragrance as of oils and syrups; 
it purged sweet-scented and resinous gmns. Its hide 
was, perhaps, too tough for convenience, but its inner 
lusciousness tempted me to persevere in the consump- 
tion of it. With much difficuliy I broke the skin. 
Honey of Hymettus 1 It seemed as though the very 
marrow of the tropics were about to intoxicate my 
palate. Alas, for tiie hopes of youthftd inexperience I 
What was so feir to see proved but a meagre mouthful 
of saturated wool; that colossal and homy seed asserted 
itself everywhere. The more I strove to handle it with 
caution, the more slippery and unmanageable it became. 
It shot into my beard, it leaped lightiy into my shiri- 
bosom, and skated over the palms of both hands. Small 
rivulets of liquor trickled down my sleeves, making dis- 
agreeable puddles at both elbows. My fingers were 
webbed together in a glutinous mass. My whole front 
was in a shocking state of smear. My teeth grew weary 



TABOO,— A FETE'DA V IN TAHITI. 89 

of combing out the beguiling threads of the fruit The 
thing seemed^ to my imagination, a small, flat head^ 
covered with short, blond hair, profusely saturated with 
some sweet sort of ointment, that I had despaired of 
feasting on; and I was not sorry when the slippery stone 
sprang out of my grasp, and peppered itself with sea-sand. 

I knew that there still remained to me a morsel that 
was of itself fit food for the gods. I poised aloft, with 
satisfaction, the rare-ripe banana, beautiftd to the eye 
as a nugget of purest gold. The pliant petals were 
pouting at the top of the fruit. I readily turned them 
back, forming a unique and convenient gilded salver 
for the column of flaky manna that was, as yet, swathed 
in lace-like folds. These gauzy ribbons fell from it 
almost of their own accord, and hung in fleecy festoons 
about it. 

Here was a repast of singularly appropriate mould, 
being about the size of a respectable mouth, and con- 
taining just enough mouthftds to temporarily satisfy the 
appetite. Not a morsel of it but was full of mellowness, 
and sweet flavour, and fragrance. Not an atom of it 
was wasted ; for, no sooner had I thrown aside the 
cool, clean, flesh-like case, than it was made way with 
by a fowl, that had, no doubt, been patiently awaiting 
that abundant feast. 

Mangoes and bananas I Their very names smack of 
shady gardens, that know no harsher premonition of 
death than the indolent and natural decay of all things. 
The nostril is excited with the thought of them \ the 
palate grows moist and yearns for them ; and the soul 
feasts itself, for a moment, with a memory of mangoes 
and bananas past, whose perfection was but another 



^ SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

proof of mimortaUiy, since it is impossible ever to forget 
them individually. Mangoes and bananas I the prime 
fayonrites at Nature's most bountiful board; the realiza- 
tion of a dream of the orchards of the Hesperides ; alike 
excellent^ yet so vastly dissimilar in their excellences, 
it seems almost incredible that the same beneficent Pro- 
vidence can have created the two fruits 1 

It was the memorable 15th of August, 1870 ; but I 
have reason to believe that the bananas were no better 
on that particular occasion than almost always in their 
.own latitude. The 15th of August, — ^where was the 
Emperor then? I forget ; I know that we rejoiced in 
the blissful confidence that we were to have a grand 
time at all hazards. There were guns at sunrise from 
ship and shore ; a grand national procession of French 
and Tahitians to High Mass at 10.30 ; guns — twenty- 
one of them — ^together with the ringing of bells, and a 
salute of flags, at the elevation of the Host, so that you 
would have known the supreme moment had you been 
miles away. Then came a sumptuous public breakfast 
for the Frenchmen ; and, for the natives, games of 
several sorts. 

Taboo and I, having properly observed the more 
Aolemn ceremonials of the day, gave ourselves up to the 
full enjoyment of these latter diversions. There was a 
greased pole, with shining cups 5 and flowing prints, 
both useful and ornamental, hung at the top of it. 
Several naked and superbly built fellows shinned up it 
with infinite difficulty, and were so fatigued when they 
got there, they were only too willing to clutch the first 
article within reach, which was, of course, the least 
desirable, and scarcely worth the trouble of getting. O, 



" * TABOd.^A PETE-bAV m TAHITI *! 

such magnifioent grouping at the foot of the pole, as the 
athletes shouldered one another in a sort of co-operative 
experiment at getting up sooner ; such struggles to rise 
a little above the heads of the impatient climbers beneath 
as made the aspiring Kanack quite pale — ^that is, green- 
ish yellow ; such losing of grips, and fainting of hearts, 
and slidings back to earth in the midst of taunts and 
jeers, but all in the best of humours and the hottest of 
suns ! such novelties as these were a very great delight 
to Taboo and myself. He, however, didn't deign to 
laugh heartily : he merely smiled in a superior manner 
that seemed to imply that he knew of something that 
was twice as much fun and not half the trouble, but he 
didn't choose to disclose it. He nearly always seemed 
to know as much as any ten of us ; and it was like an 
assumption of innocence, that queer, vacant expression 
of his face. I'm not sure that he was not possessed of 
some rare instinct beyond our comprehension, which 
was to him an abundant compensation for the fragmen- 
tary body he was obliged to trundle al out. 

Early in the afternoon, there were fresh arrivals in 
the bay : two mammoth double war-canoes, of fifty 
paddles each, came in from a remote sea-district ; they 
were the very sort of water-monsters that went out to 
greet my illustrious predecessor. Captain Cook, nearly 
a century ago. Taboo and I were only too glad to sit 
meekly among the ten thousand spectators that black- 
ened the great sweep of the shore, while these savages 
matched their prowess. With one vigorous plunge of 
the paddles the canoes sprang from the beach into the 
watery arena. How strange they looked 1 Long, low 
sides, scarce eight inches above water, and stained like 



92 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

fish-scales ; big, yawning jaws in their snakelike heads, 
and the tail of a dragon in their wakes ; every man of 
the hundred stripped to the skin and bareheaded ; their 
brawny bodies glistening in the son as though they had 
been oiled, while, with mechanical accuracy, the crews 
beat the water with their paddles, and chanted their 
guttural chants, with the sea ^shing and foaming 
under them. The race was a tie ; perhaps it was fortu- 
nate that it proved so. I fear if one crew had beaten 
the other crew the breadth of a paddle, that other would 
have lain to and eaten that one right under our very 
eyes. They had their songs of triumph, both sounding 
the chorus, during which they drummed with their 
paddles on the sides of their canoes, till the frail things 
shivered and groaned in genuine misery. Then they 
renewed the race, because they couldn't possibly be still 
for a moment ; and they looked like a brace of masto- 
don centipedes trying to get out of the water, with 
death hissing in their throats. 

The evening of the great day was drawing to a close. 
Taboo and I again went out into the narrow, green 
lanes of Papeete, seeking what we might devour with 
all our eyes and ears. Tliey were very charming, those 
long arbours of densely leaved trees, with little tropical 
vignettes set in the farther end of them. It was almost 
like getting a squint through the wrong end of a tele- 
scope, pointed toward some fairy-land or other. As it 
grew dark, a thousand ready hands began illuminating 
the avenues that lead to the Governor's house. Up and 
down its deep verandah swung ropes of lanterns; and as 
the guards at the garden-gate presented arms at the 
approach of the Admiral, or some distinguished and 



TABOO.— A FETE'DA Y IN TAHITI. 93 

decorated foreigner, the strains of Strauss, deliciously 
played, filled the illuminated grove with an air of 
romance that was very Oriental in its mellowness, and 
quickened every foot that was so happy as to touch the 
soil of Tahiti in so fortunate an hour. On every part 
of tte public lawns the revels were conducted after the 
native fashion. Bands of singers and dancers sang and 
danced in the streets, and were frequently rewarded 
with liberal potations. Taboo looked on as amiably as 
usual, and for some time as passively also; but there 
was something intoxicating in the air, and it began to 
have a visible efiect upon him. It was not long before 
he strove to emulate the singers. St. Cecilia I what a 
song was his! I could scarcely endure to hear that 
royal jester striving to tune his inharmonious voice to 
the glib though monotonous Tahitian madrigals. I 
walked away by myself, or rather went into another 
part of the village, and sought a change of scene; for 
there was no seclusion to be hoped for on a/el^e-night. 

From the Governor's halls came the entrancing har- 
mony of flutes and harps; from every lane and alley the 
piping of nose-fifes and the droning of nasal chorals; 
from the sea rolled in the deep, hoarse booming of the 
reef, the rhythmical plash of oars, or the clear, prolonged 
cry of some one in the watery distance hailing some one 
close at hand. Even so savage and picturesque a spec- 
tacle as this gre^' wearisome after a time, and I turned 
my steps toward a place of shelter, and suggested to 
myself sleep. 

In one lane was a throng of natives, wilder in their 
demonstrations of joy than all the others. My curiosity 
was excited, and I hastened to join them. Having with 



94 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

some difficulty wedged my way into the front row of 
spectators, I beheld the subject of their riotous applause. 
In the centre of a small ring was an ungainly figure, 
T\Tithing in grotesque contortions; tom-toms were being 
beaten with diabolical energy and wildness; flutes and 
shrill voices were chiming in rapid and bewildering 
chromatics; the audience — ^ihe half-crazed and utterly 
inhuman audience — ^gloated over the shocking spectacle 
with devilish delight. In one moment I comprehended 
all : Taboo, overcome by the general and unusual 
excitement, had succumbed to its depraving influenoes; 
and, unable longer to control himself, he was broadly 
burlesquing, in his helplessness, one of the national 
dances. Music had at last reached his impenetrable 
soul, awakened his long-slumbering sympathies, and 
found him her willing slave. A piiy that some diviner 
strain had not first led him captive, that he might have 
been spared this disgrace I 

I saw his unhappy body ambling to the shame of all. 
I saw those pitiful, unshapen shoulders undulating in 
vain attempts at passional expression; the helpless arm 
waving at every movement of the body, while the 
withered hand spun like a whirligig above his ears; his 
eyes, having lost their accustomed mild light, stared 
distractedly about, seeking rescue and protection, as I 
thought. In a few moments I attracted his notice, 
though he seemed but partly to recognize me. There 
was his usual uncertain recognition grown more doubt- 
ful, — nay, even hopeless, — ^as his face betrayed. Again 
I caught his eye: I felt that but one course was left 
me, and at once I aimed my finger at him. He winced 
in his deliriouB dance. I onled it round and round, 



TABOO.— A FETE-DA Y IN TAHITI. 95 

weaving airy cirde wiiliin circle; quicker and quicker 
I wove my spell, and at last shot the whole hand at him, 
as though I would run him througL He doubled, like 
one struck with a fatal blow, and went to the ground 
all of a senseless heap. There was a disturbance in the 
audience. Some of them thought I had bewitched Taboo; 
and it behoved me to go at once, rather than seek to 
make explanation of the singular result of my presence 
there. I went, and spent a dull night, accusing myself 
of being the possible spiritual murderer of Taboo. I had 
no business to bring him to the metropolis at that 
unfortunate season ; I had no right to leave him with 
his traducers: and that was the whole statement of the 
case. 

The last day of the fete was, of course, less joyous to 
me. A score of nameless nags were to be ridden by 
light-weights in breech-cloths ; and I sought consolation 
in the prospect of seeing some bewitching horsemanship. 
The track, in use but once every twelvemonth, and 
yielding annually a young orchard of guava trees, pre- 
sented to the astonished gaze of the foreign sporting 
gentleman who haj^ened to be on the ground — ii^ 
indeed, there was such an one present — o. half-mile 
course, with numerous stones and hollows reUeving its 
surface, while the rope that enclosed it kept giving way 
every few moments, letting in a mixed multitude among 
^ the half-broken horses. 

The Queen was present at the races, — Pomare, whose 
life has been one long, sorrowful romance ; the Admiral 
was also there; and many a petty officer, with abundant 
gilt and tinsel. At a signal from the trumpeter the 
horses were entered unannounced, and everybody betted 



96 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

wfldly. One little African jockey, mounted upon the 
cleverest piece of flesh and blood in the field, called for 
the larger stakes; and he would certainly have won, but 
for an unavoidable accident : the little African was 
pressing in on the home-stretch, and everything looked 
lovely for the winning mare, when, unluckily, she put 
her nigh leg in a crab hole, and snapped her shin-bone 
square off. The undaunted little African tried his best 
to finish the heat on his own responsibility, and went off 
into the air in fine style, but missed his calculation, and 
burrowed about three lengths from the goal. His neck 
was driven in nearly up to the ears, and the mare had 
to be shot ; but the races went mercilessly on until a 
tremendous thunder-storm flooded the track and washed 
the population back to town. Dance after dance con- 
sumed the afternoon hours ; and song upon song, eter- 
nally reiterated, finally failed to create any special 
enthusiasm. 

I saw no further traces of Taboo. Again and again 
I followed knots of the curious into the larger native 
houses, where the lascivious dances were given with the 
utmost abandon; thither, I suspected, Taboo would 
most likely be impelled, for the music was wilder and 
the applause more boisterous and unrestrained. 

The evening of the last day of the /ete was darken- 
ing ; most people were growing a little weary of the 
long-drawn festivities; many had succumbed to their 
fatigue, and slept by the wayside, or, it may be, they 
had known too well the nature of the Tahitian juices, 
Buch as no man may drink and not fall. 

The palace of Pomare — a great, hollow, incomplete 
ghell, whose windows have never been glazed, and whose 



TABOO,— A FETE-DA Y IN TAHITI, 97 

doors have never been hung — ^was the scene of the con- 
cluding ceremonials of the season. The long verandahs 
were thickly hung with numberless paper lanterns, 
swinging continually in the soft night winds that stole 
down from the starlit slopes of Fautahua ; the broad 
lawns in front of the palace were blocked out in squares, 
like the map of a liliputian ciiy. Each one of these 
plats was set apart for a band of singers, and there were 
as many bands as districts in Tahiti and Moorea, toge- 
ther with delegations from islands more remote. Soon 
the choruses began to assemble. Choirs of fifty voices 
each, male and female, led by tight-headed drums and 
screaming fifes, drew towards the palace gardens, and 
were formally admitted by the proper authorities, who 
were very much swollen with the pomp of office, and, 
perhaps, a little sprinkle of the exhilarating accompa- 
niments of the season. One after another the white- 
robed processions approached — each fresh arrival looking 
more like the chorus in " Norma " than the last, though 
it then seemed impossible that any Druid could presume 
to appear more gracefully ghostlike. Each singer wore 
a plume of cocoa leaves, whose feathers were more lovely 
than the downy wands of the ostrich. They were made 
of knots of long, slender ribbons, softer than satin, veined 
like clouded silver, as transparent as the clearest isin- 
glass, and as delicate as the airiest gauze. 

Out of the core of the palm tree, in the midst of its 
rich, dark mass of foliage, springs a tuft of leaves as 
tender as the first sprouts of a lily bulb. These budding 
leaves are carefully removed, split edgewise, and the 
enamelled sheets laid open to the sun ; then, with the 
thumb-nail, passed skilftdly over the inner surface, a 



98 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

filmy membrane is separated, and spread in the air to 
dry. A single tree yields but a small cluster of these 
pale, doud-like leaves, scarcely a handful in all, yet the 
tree withers when they pluck the heart of it. It is the 
very soul of the southern palm, with every life spiritual- 
ized, and looking vapoury as tangible moonlight. 

The leader of the concert having challenged the 
choruses from the verandah of the palace, at once tweniy 
choirs struck into their particular anthem with the ut- 
most zeal. A discord about six acres in extent was the 
result. It seemed as though each choir was seeking 
whom it might drown out with superior vocal compass 
and volume. With much difficulty the several bands of 
singers were persuaded to await their turn for a solo 
effort that might be listened to with no small degree of 
pleasure. From time to time, during the entire evening, 
some obstreperous chorus would break loose, spite of 
every precaution ; and it had always to sing itself out 
before order could be restored. Taboo would have tho- 
roughly enjoyed these two thousand singers, eadb singing 
his or her favourite roundelay, independent of all laws 
of time and melody. He might have been there, as it 
was, offering his inharmonious chant with the mob of 
contestants. 

By the time the series of prize-songs had been sung, 
the sky grew cloudy, and the torches began to flicker in 
the increasing wind ; a few great drops of rain spat 
down in the midst of the singers, and the reef moaned 
loudly, like the baying of signal guns. It was ominous 
of coming storms. At the climax of a choral revolution, 
in which every man's voice seemed raised against his 
neighbour's^ a roar as of approaching armies was heard 



TABOO.-^A FETE'DA Y IN TAHITI. 99 

mingled with the accompanying crash of artillery. A 
sudden puff of wind extinguished the major part of tiie 
torches, and wrecked many of the lanterns in the palace 
porch. It was simply a tropical shower in all its magnir 
ficenoe ; but it was enough 1 The fite concluded then 
and there in the promptest manner. The narrow streets 
of Papeete were clogged with retreating hosts, who con- 
tinually shouted a sort of general adieu to everybody, as 
they gathered tJieir skirts about them, and, with fl^oes 
in hand, turned their bare feet homeward. 

Since the end had at last come, and I had no further 
claims upon the people, nor the people upon me,— if, 
indeed, either of us were ever anything in particular to 
one another, — I drifted with the majoriiy, and soon 
found myself in the suburban wilderness that girdles 
the small capital of the queendom. I wandered on till 
the noise of the revellers grew more and more indistinct. 
They were scattering themselves over the length and 
breadth of the island, carrying their songs with them. 
Now and then a fresh gust of wind bore down to me an 
echo of a refrain that had grown familiar during the 
days of the f^e, and will not soon be forgotten ; but the 
past was rapidly fading, and the necessities of the future 
began to present themselves with unusual boldness. 
Instinctively I turned into the winding trail that once 
before had led me toward that mysterious mountain 
sacristy, over whose font fell the spiritual and dream- 
like rivulet whose baptismal virtues Taboo and I had 
sought together. I felt certain that I could find it 
Avithout guidance ; for the broken clouds let slip such 
floods of moonlight as made day of darkness, and ren- 
dered the smallest landmark easily distiHguishable. 



100 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

I paused for rest in the bread-fruit grove where first I 
met with my weird companion. Presently I resumed 
my pilgrimage, wending my way toward the slender 
path that led through fern, forest, and bamboo-jungle, 
to the crystal lake and waterfall. In vain I sought it ; 
the slightest traces of the trail seemed obliterated. I 
wandered up and down the winding w^y, till I was in 
despair of finding the sUghtest due to the mystery. I 
sat down and thought how a slight accident of forgetful- 
ness was lending a sense of enchantment to the whole 
valley, when I heard a stumbling step, too marked to 
be soon forgotten. I crept into a shadow, and awaited 
the approach of the solitary wanderer. How he tottered 
as he drew near I He seemed to have lost part of his 
small skill since I last saw him. He was laughing 
quietly to himself while he journeyed : perhaps some 
memory of the fUe still pleased him. He passed me, 
unconscious of my presence. I ran cautiously, and fol- 
lowed him at a safe distance. We threaded the old 
path, by stream and diff and brake, and, after a little, 
reached the secluded and silent borders of the lake. 
Once or twice he had heard me as I brushed past the 
bamboos or a twig snapped under foot, but those forest- 
sounds scarcely disconcerted him ; he was too well used 
to them. He paused at the margin of the lake, stooped 
awkwardly and drank of it, went a little to one side 
where an outlet fed the torrent we had forded some dis- 
tance down the valley, and there he bathed. Having 
started once or twice, as though with some remembered 
and definite purpose, he paused a moment or two, looked 
about him helplessly, and returned to the foot of the great 
tree where we slept the first night of our acquaintance. 



* 



TABOO.^A FETE'DA Y IN TAHITI. loi 

There was a faint suggestion of the fall across the 
sombre breast of the cliff opposite, but whether it were 
real or a delusion, I could scarcely determine. Taboo 
was soon asleep among the roots of the banyan ; and I, 
weary of seeking some revelation of the island mys- 
teries, lay down near him, and gradually sank into un- 
consciousness. Once in the night I awoke : the clouds 
had blown over, and the moon was more resplendent 
than I ever remember to have seen it. Out on the 
mossy rim of the lake stood Taboo, gazing wistfully 
upon the mountains. Instinctively my eyes followed 
his, and there I beheld the waterfall in all its glory, 
leaping, like a ray of light, from the bosom of the sky. 
I could scarcely determine whether or no it really fell 
into the lake, for the foliage about its shores was too 
proftise. It flashed like handfuls of diamond-dust 
thrown into the light, and descended as noiselessly and 
airily as vapour. 

The clouds soon gathered again. I slept, overcome 
with weariness; and when I awoke at dawn. Taboo was 
missing, as well as all traces of the fall. This, however, 
scarcely surprised me, for I had grown to look upon it 
as some lunar effect that came and went with the in- ^ 
creasing or decreasing splendour of the moon ; or it 
might have been the shor<>-lived offspring of the showers 
that sweep over the island at uncertain intervals. It 
was probably the only dramatic result to be looked for 
in the career of Taboo. You never can depend upon 
one of those veering minds, whose north-star has burned 
out in oblivion. I believe it was his destiny to disappear 
with that rainbow, and, perhaps, return with it when the 
fall should noiselessly steal down the mountain once more. 



lot SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

He may have had an object in secreting himself for a 
season; perhaps he was renewing his youthful innocence 
in some more solitary spot He may have gone apart to 
laugh by the hour at the folly of those foreigners who 
fiU a (Hsgraced emperor ; or was he making his queer 
noises to hear the queerer echoes that came back to 
him, and all the while caring no more for life or deaib 
than a parrot or a magpie, or even a poor, half-shapen 
soul,-— one of those sacred idiots that have found wor- 
shippers before now, and never yet failed to awaken a 
chord of sympathy in the heart that is fashioned after 
the Divine pattern of the Son of God ? 




JOE OF LAHAINA. 
I. 

WAS stormed in at Lahaina. Now, Labaina 
is a little slice of civilization, beached on the 
shore of barbarism. One can easily stand 
that little of it, for brown and brawny hea- 
thendom becomes more wonderful and captivating by 
contrast. So I was glad of dear, drowsy, little Lahaina ; 
and was glad, also, that she had but one broad street, 
which possibly led to destruction, and yet looked lovely 
in the distance. It didn't matter to me that the one 
broad street had but one side to it ; for the sea lapped 
over the sloping sands on its lower edge, and the sun 
used to set right in the face of every solitary citizen of 
Lahaina, just as he went to supper. 

I was waiting to catch a passage in a passing schooner, 
and that's why I came there ; but the schooner flashed 
by us in a great gale from the south^ and so I was 
stormed in indefinitely. 

It was Holy Week, and I concluded to go to house- 
keeping, because it would be so nice to have my frugal 
meals in private, to go to mass and vespers daily, and 
then to come back and feel quite at home. My villa was 



104 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

suburban, — ^built of dried grasses on the model of a hay- 
stack, dug out in the middle, with doors and windows 
let into the four sides thereof. It was planted in the 
midst of a vineyard, with avenues stretching in all direc- 
tions, under a network of stems and tendrils. 

'' Her breath is sweeter than the sweet winds 
That breathe over the grape-blossoms of Lahaina." 

So the song said ; and I began to think upon the sur- 
passing sweetness of that breath, as I inhaled the sweet 
winds of Lahaina, while the wilderness of its vineyards 
blossomed like the rose. I used to sit in my verandah 
and turn to Joe (Joe was my private and confidential 
servant), and I would say to Joe, while we scented the 
odour of grape, and saw the great banana-leaves waving 
their cambric sails, and heard the sea moaning in the 
melancholy distance, — I would say to him, " Joe, house- 
keepmg is good fun, isn't it ? " Whereupon Joe would 
utter a sort of unanimous Yes, with his whole body and 
soul ; so that question was carried triumphantly, and we 
would relapse into a comfortable silence, while the voices 
of the wily singers down on the city front would whisper 
to us, and cause us to wonder what they could possibly 
be doing at that moment in the broad way that led to 
destruction. Then we would take a drink of cocoa-milk, 
and finish our bananas, and go to bed, because we had 
nothing else to do. 

This is the way that we began our co-operative house- 
keeping : One night, when iliere was a riotous sort of 
a festival oflF in a retired valley, I saw, in the excited 
throng of natives who were going mad over their na- 
tional dance, a young face that seemed to embody a 



JOE OF LAHAJNA. 105 

whole tropical romance. On another night, when a lot 
of us were bathing in the moonlight, I saw a figure so 
fresh and joyous that I began to realize how the old 
Greeks could worship mere physical beauty and forget 
its higher forms. Then I discovered that face on this 
body, — a rare enough combination, — and the whole con- 
stituted Joe, a young scapegrace who was schooling at 
Lahaina, under the eye — ^not a very sharp one — of his 
unde. When I got stormed in, and resolved on house- 
keeping for a season, I took Joe, bribing his uncle to 
keep the peace, which he promised to do, provided I 
gave bonds for Joe's irreproachable conduct while with 
me. I willingly gave bonds — ^verbal ones — ^for this was 
just what I wanted of Joe : namely, to instil into his 
youthful mind those counsels which, if rigorously fol- 
lowed, must result in his becoming a true and unterrified 
American. This compact settled, Joe took up his bed, — 
a roll of mats, — ^and down we marched to my villa, and 
began housekeeping in good earnest. 

We soon got settled, and began to enjoy life, though 
we were not without occasional domestic infelicities. 
For instance, Joe would wake up in the middle of the 
night, declaring to me that it wcu morning, and there- 
upon insist upon sweeping out at once, and in the most 
vigorous manner. Having filled the air with dust, he 
would rush ofi^ to the baker's for our hot rolls and a pat 
of breakfast butter, leaving me, meantime, to recover as 
I might. Having settled myself for a comfortable hour's 
reading, bolstered up in a luxurious fashion, Joe would 
enter with breakfast, and orders to the eflect that it be 
eaten at once and without delay. It was useless for me 
to remonstrate with him : he was tyrannical. 



lo6 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

He involyed me in all manner of difficulties. It waa 
Holy Week, and I had resolved upon going to mass and 
vespers daily. I went. The soft night-wimls floated in 
through the latticed windows of the chapel, and made 
the candles flicker upon the altar. The little throng of 
natives bowed in the impressive silence, and were deeply 
moved. It was rest for the soul to be there ; yet, in 
the midst of it, while the Father, with his pale, sad face, 
gave his instructions, to which we listened as attentively 
as possible, — ^for there was something in his manner and 
his voice that made us better creatures, — ^while we lis- 
tened, in the midst of it I heard a shrill little whistle, a 
sort of chirp, that I knew perfectly well. It was Joe, 
sitting on a cocoa-stump in the garden adjoining^ and 
beseeching me to come out, right ofll When service 
was over, I remonstrated with him for his irreverence. 
"Joe," I said, "if you have no respect for religion 
yourself, respect those who are more fortunate than 
you." But Joe was dressed in his best, and quite wild 
at the entrancing loveliness of the night. " Let's walk 
a little," said Joe, covered with fragrant wreaths, and 
redolent of cocoanut-oil. What could I do ? If I had 
tried to do anything to the contrary, he might have 
taken me and thrown me away somewhere into a well, 
or a jungle, and then I could no longer hope to touch 
the chord of remorse, — ^which chord I sought vainly, 
and which I have since concluded was not in Joe's phy- 
sical corporation at all. So we walked a Uttle. In vain 
I strove to break Joe of the shocking habit of whistling 
me out at vespers. He would persist in doing it. More- 
over, during the day he would collect crui^s of bread and 
banana-skins, station himsdf in ambush behind the cor- 



yOff OF LAHAINA, vyi 

tain of the window next the lane, and, as some solitary 
creature strode solemnly past, Joe would discharge a 
volley of ammunition over him, and then laugh immo- 
derately at his indignation and surprise. Joe was my 
pet elephant, and I was obliged to play with him very 
cautiously. 

One morning he disappeared. I was without the con- 
solations of a breakfast, even. I made my toilet, went 
to my portmanteau for my purse, — for I had decided 
upon a visit to the baker, — when lo I part of my slender 
means had mysteriously disappeared. Joe was gone, 
and the money also. All day I thought about it. In 
the morning, after a very long and miserable night, I 
woke up, and when I opened my eyes, there, in the 
doorway, stood Joe, in a brand-new suit of clothes, in- 
cluding boots and hat. He was gorgeous beyond de- 
scription, and seemed overjoyed to see me, and as merry 
as though nothing unusual had happened. I was quite 
startled at this apparition. " Joseph ! " I said in my 
severest tones, and then turned over and looked away 
from him. Joe evaded the subject in the most delicate 
manner, and was never so interesting as at that moment. 
He sang his speoiaUties, and played clumsily upon his 
bamboo flute, — to soothe me, I suppose, — ^and wanted 
me to eat a whole flat pie which he had brought home 
as a peace-offering, buttoned tightly under his jacket. 
I saw I must strike at once, if I struck at all ; so I 
said, "Joe, what on earth did you do with that money?" 
Joe said he had replenished his wardrobe, and bought 
the flat pie especially for me. " Joseph," I said, with 
great dignity, " do you know that you have been steal- 
ing, and that it is highly sinful to steal, and may result 



lo8 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS, 

in Bomething unpleasant in the world to come ? " Joe 
said, " Yes," pleasantly, though I hardly think he meant 
it ; and then he added, mildly, " that he couldn't He," — 
which was a glaring falsehood, — " but wanted me to be 
sure that he took the money, and so had come back to 
UA\ me." 

*^ Joseph," I said, "you remind me of our noble 
Washington"; and, to my amazement, Joe was morti- 
fied. He didn't, of course, know who Washington was, 
but he suspected that I was ridiculing him. He came 
to the bed and haughtily insisted upon my taking the 
little change he had received from his customers, but I 
implored him to keep it, as I had no use at all for it, 
and, as I assured him, I much preferred hearing it jingle 
in his pocket. 

The next day I sailed out of Lahaina, and Joe came 
to the beach with his new trousers tucked into his new 
boots, while he waved his new hat violently in a final 
adieu, much to the envy and admiration of a score of 
hatless urchins, who looked upon Joe as the glass of 
fashion, and but little lower than the angels. When I 
entered the boat to set sail, a tear stood in Joe's bright 
eye, and I think he was really sorry to part with me ; 
and I don't wonder at it, because our housekeeping 
experiences were new to him, — and, I' may add, not un- 
profitable. 



JOE OF LAHAINA. 109 



IL 

Some months of mellow and beautiful weather found 
me wandering here and there among the islands, when 
the gales came on again, and I was driven about home- 
less, and sometimes friendless, until, by-and-by, I heard 
of an opportunity to visit Molokai, — ^an island seldom 
visited by the tourist, — ^where, perhaps, I could get a 
close view of a singularly sad and interesting colony of 
lepers. 

The whole island is green, but lonely. As you ride 
over its excellent turnpike, you see the ruins of a nation 
that is passing, like a shadow, out of sight. Deserted 
garden-patches, crumbling walls, and roofs tumbled into 
the one state-chamber of the house, while knots of long 
grass wave at halfmast in the chinks and crannies. A 
land of great traditions, of magic, and witchcraft, and 
spirits. A fertile and fragrant solitude. How I en- 
joyed it ; and yet how it was all telling upon me, in 
its own way I One cannot help feeling sad there, for 
he seems to be living and moving in a long reverie, out 
of which he dreads to awaken to a less pathetic life. I 
rode a day or two among the solemn aftd reproachful 
ruins with inexpressible complacence, and, having finally 
climbed a series of verdant and downy hills, and ridden 
for twenty minutes in a brisk shower, came suddenly 
upon the brink of a great precipice, three thousand feet 
in the air. My horse instinctively braced himself, and 
I nervously jerked the bridle square up to my breast- 
bone, as I found we were poised between heaven and 
earth, upon a trembling pinnacle of rock. A broad 



Iio SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

peninsular was stretched below me, covered with grassy- 
hills ; here and there clusters of brown huts were 
visible, and to the right, the white dots of houses to 
which I was hastening, for that was the leper village. 
To that spot were the wandering and afflicted tribes 
brought home to die. Once descending the narrow 
stairs in the cliflP under me, never again could they hope 
to strike their tents and resume their pilgrimage ; for 
the curse was on them, and necessity had narrowed 
down their sphere of action to this compass, — ^a solitary 
slope between sea and land, with the invisible sentinels 
of Fear and Fate for ever watching its borders. 

I seemed to be looking into a fiery furnace, wherein 
walked the living bodies of those whom Death had 
already set his seal upon. What a mockery it seemed 
to be climbing down that crag, — ^through wreaths of 
vine, and under leafy cataracts breaking into a foam of 
blossoms a thousand feet below me ; swinging aside the 
hanging parasites that obstructed the narrow way, — 
entering flie valley of death, and the very mouth of hell, 
by these floral avenues ! 

A brisk ride of a couple of miles across the breadth 
of the peninsula brought me to the gate of the keeper 
of the settlement, and there I dismounted, and hastened 
into the house, to be rid of the curious crowd that had 
gathered to receive me. The little cottage was very 
comfortable, my host and hostess friends of precious 
memory ; and with them I felt at once at home, and 
began the new life that every one begins when the 
earth seems to have been suddenly transformed into 
some better or worse world, and he alone survives the 
transformation. 



yOE OF LAHAINA. Ill 

Have you never had such an experience ? Then go 
into the midst of a communiiy of lepers ; have ever 
before your eyes their Gorgon-like faces ; see the 
horrors, hardly to be recognized as human, that grope 
about you ; listen in vain for the voices that have been 
hushed for ever by decay ; breathe the tainted atmo- 
sphere ; and bear ever in mind that, while they hover 
about you, — ^forbidden to touch you, yet longing to 
clasp once more a hand that is perfect and pure, — ^the 
insidious seeds of the malady may be generating in your 
vitals, and your heart, even then, be drunk with death I 

I might as well confess that I slept indifferently the 
first night ; that I was not entirely free from nervous- 
ness the next day, as I passed through the various 
wards assigned to patients in every stage of decomposi- 
tion. But I recovered myself in time to observe the 
admirable system adopted by the Hawaiian government 
for the protection of its unfortunate people. I used to 
sit by ^Q window and see the processions of the less 
aflSicted come for little measures of milk, morning and 
evening. Then there was a continuous raid upon the 
ointment-pot, with the contents of which they delighted 
to anoint themselves. Trifling disturbances sometimes 
brought the plaintiflF and defendant to the front gate, 
for final judgment at the hands of their beloved keeper. 
And it was a constant entertainment to watch the pror 
gress of events in that singular little world of doomed 
spirits. They were not unhappy. I used to hear them 
singing every evening : their souls were singing while 
their bodies were falling rapidly to dust. They con- 
tinued to play their games, as well as they could play 
them with the loss of a finger joint or a toe, from week 



112 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS, 

to week 2 it is thus gradually and thus slowly that they 
died, feeling their voices growing fainter and their 
strength less, as the idle days passed oyer them and 
swept them to the tomb. 

Sitting at the window on the second evening, as the 
patients came up for milk, I observed one of them 
watching me intently, and apparently trying to make 
me understand something or other, but what that some- 
thing was I could not guess. He rushed to the keeper 
and talked excitedly with him for a moment, and then 
withdrew to one side of the gate and waited till the 
others were served with their milk, still watching me all 
the while. Then the keeper entered and told me how I 
had a friend out there who wished to speak with me, — 
some one who had seen me somewhere, he supposed, but 
whom I would hardly remember. It was their way 
never to forget a face they had once become familiar 
with. Out I went. There was a face I could not have 
recognized as anything friendly or human. Knots of 
flesh stood out upon it ; scar upon scar disfigured it. 
The expression was like that of a mummy, stony and 
withered. The outlines of a youthful figure were 
preserved, but the hands and feet were pitiful to look at. 
What was this ogre that knew me and loved me still ? 

He soon told me who he once had been, but was no 
longer. Our little, unfortunate " Joe," my Lahaina 
charge. In his case the disease had spread with fearful 
rapidity : the keeper thought he could hardly survive 
the year. Many linger year after year, and cannot 
die ; but Joe was more fortunate. His life had been 
brief and passionate, and death was now hastening him 
to his dissolution. 



JOE OF LAHAINA, 113 

Joe was forbidden to come near me, so he crouched 
down by the fence, and pressing his hands between the 
pickets sifted the dust at mj feet, while he wailed in a 
low voice, and called me, over and over, " dear friend," 
"good friend," and "master." I wish I had never 
seen him so humbled. To think of my disreputable 
httle proUgiy who was wont to lord it over me as 
though he had been a bom chief, — ^to think of Joe as 
being there in his extremity, grovelling in the dust at 
my feet ; forbidden to dimb the great wall of flowers 
that towered between him and his beautiful world, while 
the rough sea lashed the coast about him, and his only 
companions were such hideous foes as would frighten 
one out of a dream I 

How I wanted to get dose to him 1 but I dared not ; 
so we sat there with the slats of the fence between us, 
while we talked very long in the twilight ; and I was 
glad when it grew so dark that I could no longer see 
his face, — ^his terrible face, that came to kill the memory 
of his former beauiy. 

And Joe wondered whether I still remembered how 
we used to walk in the night, and go home, at last, to 
our Uttle house when Lahaina was as still as death, and 
you could almost hear the great stars throbbing in the 
clear sky I How well I remembered it, and the day 
when we went a long way down the beach, and, looking 
back, saw a wide curve of the land cutting the sea like 
a sickle, and turning up a white and shining swath I 
Then, in another place, a grove of cocoa-palms and a 
melancholy, monastic-looking building, with splendid 
palm-branches in its broad windows ; for it was just 
after Palm Sunday, and the building belonged to a 

8 



114 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

Sisterhood. And I remembered how the clouds fell and 
the rain drove us into a sudden shelter, and we ate 
tamarind-jam, spread thick on thin slices of bread, and 
were supremely happy. In this connection, I could not 
forget how Joe became very unruly about that time^ 
and I got mortified, and found great difficulty in getting 
him home at all ; and yet the memory of it would have 
been perfect but for this fate. Joe ! my poor, dear, 
terrible cobra I to think that I should ever be afraid to 
look into your face in my life ! 

Joe wanted to call to my mind one other reminiscence, 
— a night when we two walked to the old wharf, and 
went out to the end of it, and sat there looking inland, 
watching the inky waves slide up and down the beach, 
while the full moon rose over the superb mountains 
where the clouds were heaped like wool, and the very 
air seemed full of utterances that you could almost hear 
and understand but for something that made all a 
mystery. I tried then, if ever I tried in my life, to 
make Joe a little less bad than he was naturally, and 
he seemed nearly inclined to be better, and would, I 
think, have been so, but for the thousand temptations 
that gravitated to him when we got on solid earth again. 
He forgot my precepts then, and I'm afraid I forgot 
them myself. Joe remembered that night vividly. I 
was touched to hear him confess it ; and I pray earnestly 
that that one moment may plead for him in the last day, 
if, indeed, he needs any special plea other than that 
Nature has published for her own. 

" Sing for me, Joe," said I ; and Joe, still crouching 
on the other side of the lattice, sang some of his old 
songs. One of them, a popular melody, was echoed 



JOE OF LAHAINA. "' 115 

through the little settlement, where faint voices caught 
up the chorus, and the night was wildly and weirdly 
musical. We walked by the sea the next day, and the day 
following that, Joe taking pains to stay on the leewai^i 
side of me, — he was so careful to keep the knowledge 
of his fate uppermost in his mind : how could I dismiss 
it from my own, when it was branded in his counte- 
nance ? Tie desolated beauty of his face pleaded for 
measureless pity, and I gave it, out of my prodigality, 
yet felt that I could not begin to give sufficient. 

Link by link he was casting off his hold on life ; he 
was no longer a complete being ; his soul was pros- 
trated in the miry clay, and waited, in agony, its lono- 
deliverance. 

In leaving the leper village, I had concluded to say 
nothing to Joe, other than the usual '^ aloha'*'* at nio-ht, 
when I could ride off, in the darkness, and, sleeping at 
the foot of the cliff, ascend it in the first light of the 
morning, and get well on my journey before tiie heat of 
the day. We took a last walk by the rocks on the 
shore ; heard the sea breathing its long breath under 
the hollow cones of lava, with a noise like a giant leper 
in his asthmatic agony. Joe heard it, and laughed a 
little, and then grew silent ; and finally said he wanted 
to leave the place, — ^he hated it ; he loved Lahaina 
dearly: how was everybody in Lahaina? — a question he 
had asked me hourly since my arrival. 

When night came I asked Joe to sing, as usual ; so 
he gathered his mates about him, and they sang the 
songs I liked best. The voices rang, sweeter than ever, 
up from the grou^j of singers congregated a few rods 
off, in the darkness ; and while they sang, my horse 



Ii6 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

was saddled, and I quietly bade adieu to jay dear 
friends, the keepers, and mounting, walked the horse 
slowly up the grass-grown road, I shall never see little 
Joe again, with his pitiful face, growing gradually as 
dreadful as a cobra's, and almost as fascinating in its 
hideousness. I waited, a little way off, in the darkness, 
waited and listened, till the last song was ended, and I 
knew he would be looking for me, to say Oood-night. 
But he didn't find me ; and he will never again find me 
in this life, for I left him sitting in the dark door of his 
sepulchre, — sitting and singing in the mouth of his 
grave, — clothed all in death. 




THE NIGHT-DANCERS OF WAIPIO. 

HE afternoon sun was tinting the snowy crest 
of Mauna Kea, and folds of shadow were 
draping the sea-washed eastern cliflFs of 
Hawaii^ as Felix and I endeavoured to 
persuade our fitgged steeds that they must go and live, 
or stay and die in the middle of a lava-trail by no means 
inviting. As we rode, we thought of the scandal that 
had so recently regaled our too willing ears: here it is, 
in a mild solution, to be taken with three parts of dis- 
belief. 

Two venerable and warm-hearted missionaries, whose 
good works seemed to have found dissimilar expression, 
equally effective, I trust, proved their specialties to be 
church-building. 

Rev. Mr. A seemed to think the more the merrier, 
and his pretty little meeting-houses looked as though 
they had been baked in the lot, like a sheet of biscuits; 
while Rev. Mr. B condensed his efforts into the con- 
summation of one resplendent edifice. Mr. A was 
always wondering why Mr. B should waste his money 
in a single church, while Mr. B was nonplussed at 
seeing Mr. A break out in a rash of diminutive chapels. 
Well, Felix and I were riding northward up the coast. 



Il8 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

over dozens and dozens of lovely ridges; through scores 
of deep gullies cushioned with ferns as high as our 
pommels, and fording numberless streams, white with 
froth and hurry, eagerly seeking the most exquisite 
valley in the Pacific, as some call it. We rode till we 
were tired out twenty times over; again and again we 
looked forward to the bit of Mardi-life we were about 
to experience in the vale of the Waipio, while now and 
then we passed one of Mr. A's pretty Uttle churches. 
Once we were impatient enough to make inquiry of a 
native who was watching our progress with considerable 
emotion: there is always some one to watch you when 
you are wishing yourself at the North Pole. Our single 
spectator affected an air of gravity, and seemed quite 
interested as he said, " Go six or seven churches farther 
on that trail, and you'll come to Waipio." On we went 
with renewed spirits, for the churches were frequent, 
almost within sight of each other. But we faltered 
presently and lost our reckoning, they were so much 
alike. Again we asked our way of a solitary watcher 
on a hill-top, who had had his eye upon us ever since 
we rose above the rim of the third ridge back : he 
revealed to us the glad fact that we were only two 
churches from Paradise I How we tore over the rest 
of that straight and narrow way with the little life left 
to us, and came in finally all of a foam, fairly jumping 
the last mite of a chapel that hung upon the brink of 
the beautiful valley like a swallow's nest 1 And down 
we dropped into fifty fathoms of the sweetest twilight 
imaginable, — so sweet it seemed to have been bom of a 
wilderness of the night-blooming cereus and fed for ever 
on jasmine buds. 



THE NIGHT'DANCERS OF WAIPIO. 119 

There were shelter and refreshment for two hungry 
souls, and we slid out of our saddles as though we had 
been boned expressly for a cannibal feast. 

By this time the rosy flush on Mauna Kea had faded, 
and its superb brow was pale with an unearthly pallor. 
'^ Come in," said the host; and he led us under the 
thatched gable, that was fragrant as new-mown hay. 
There we sat, " in," as ho called it, though there was 
never a side to the concern thicker than a shadow. 

A stream flowed noiselessly at our feet. Canoes 
drifted by us, with dusky and nude forms bowed over 
the paddles. Each occupant greeted us, being guests 
in the valley, just lifting their slumberous eyelids, — 
masked batteries, that made Felix forget his danger; 
they seldom paused, but called back to us from the 
gathering darkness with inexpressibly tender, contralto 
voices. 

In another apartment screened with vines we fouijd 
our dinner ready. The feint flicker of the tapers sug- 
gested that what breath of air might be stirring came 
from the mountain, and it brought with it a message 
from the orangery up the valley. " How will you take 
your oranges?" queried Felix; "in pulp, liquid, or 
perfume ? "-:— -and such a dense odour swept past us at 
the moment, I thought I had taken them in the triple 
forms. " You are just in time," said our host. " Why, 
what's up ? " asked I. " The moon will be up presently, 
and after moonrise you shall see the huld-hula,^^ 

Felix desired to be enlightened as to the nature of 
the what-you-call-it, and was assured that it was worth 
seeing, and would require no explanatory chorus whe^ 
its hour cam^ 



120 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

It was at least a mile to the scene of action; a tortu- 
ous stream wound thither, navigable in spots, but from 
time to time the canoe would have to take to the banks 
for a short cut into deeper water. 

" I can never get there," growled Felix ; " I'm full 
of needles and pins ; " to which the host responded by 
excusing himself for a few moments, leaving Felix and 
me alone. It was deathly still in the valley, though a 
tliousand crickets sang, and the fish smacked their round 
mouths at the top of the water. Evening comes slowly 
in those beloved tropics, but it comes so satisfactorily 
that there is nothing left; out. 

A moonlight night is a continuous festival. The 
natives sing and dance till daybreak, making it all up 
by sleeping till the next twilight. Nothing is lost by 
this ingenious and admirable arrangement. Why should 
they sleep, when a night there has the very essence of 
five nights anywhere else, extracted and enriched with 
spices till it is so inspiring that the soul cries out in 
triumph, and the eyes couldn't sleep if they would ? 

At this period, enter to us the host, with several 
young native girls, who seat themselves at our feet, 
clasping each a boot>-leg encasing the extremities of 
Felix and myself. 

Felix kicked violently, and left the room with some 
embarrassment, and I appealed to the hospitable gentle- 
man of the house, who was smiling somewhat audibly at 
our perplexity. 

He assured me that if I would throw myself upon the 
mats in the comer, two of these maids would speedily 
relieve me of any bodily pain I might at that moment 
be suffering with. 



THE NIGHT-DANCERS OF WAIPIO, I2I 

I did so: the two proceeded as set down in the verbal 
prospectus; and whatever bodily pain I may have pos- 
sessed at the beginning of the process speedily dwindled 
into insignificance by comparison with the tortures of 
my novel cure. Every limb had to be unjointed and 
set over again. Places were made for new joints, and 
I think the new joints were temporarily set in, for my 
arms and legs went into angles I had never before seen 
them in, nor have I since been able to assume those 
startling attitudes. The stomach was then kneaded like 
dough. The ribs were crushed down against the spine, 
and then forced out by well-directed blows in the back. 
The spinal column was undoubtedly abstracted, and 
some mechanical substitute now does its best to help me 
through the world. The arms were tied in bow-knots 
behind, and the skull cracked like the shell of a hard- 
boiled egg, worked into shape again, and left to 
heal. 

By this time I was unconscious, and for an hour my 
sleep promised to be eternal. I must have lain flat on 
the matting, without a curve in me, when Nature, 
taking pity, gradually let me rise and assume my own 
proportions, as though a little leaven had been mixed in 
my making over. 

The awakening was like coming from a bath of the 
elements. I breathed to the tips of my toes. Perfumes 
penetrated me till I was saturated witli them. I felt a 
thousand years younger; and as I looked back upon the 
old life I seemed to have risen from, I thought of it 
much as a butterfly must think of his grub-hood, and 
was in the act of expanding my wings, when I saw 
Felix, just recovering, a few feet from me, apparently 



laa SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

as ecstatic as m jsolf. I never dared to ask him how he 
was reduced to submission, for I little imagined he could 
so fiir forget himself. There are some sudden and inex- 
plicable rcYolutions in the affiiirs of humaniiy that should 
not be looked into too closely, because a chaotic chasm 
yawns between the old man and the new, which no one 
has ever yet explored. Felix sprang to his feet like 
Prometheus unbound, and embraced me with fervour, 
as one might after a hair-breadth escape, exclaiming, 
*^Did you ever see anything like it. Old Boy?" to 
which the Old Boy, thus familiarly addressed (0. B. is 
a pet monogram of mine, designed and frequently exe- 
cuted by Felix), responded, " There wasn't much to see, 
but my feelings were past expression." "What's its 
name?" asked Felix. "I think they call it lomi- 
lomij^ said I. "Pass lomiMymi!" shouted Felix; 
and then we both roared again, which summoned the 
host, who congratulated us and invited us to his 
canoe. 

Felix again endeavoured to fathom the mysteries of 
the hulonhula. Was it something to eat? — did they 
keep it tied in the daytime ? — what was its colour ? etc., 
till the amused gentleman who was conducting us to an 
exhibition of the great Unknown nearly capsized our 
absurdly narrow canoe in the very deepest part of iiie 
creek. Bands of fishermen and women passed us, 
wading breast-high in the water, beating it into a foam 
before them, and singing at the top of their voices as 
they drove the fish down stream into a broad net a few 
rods below. Grass-houses, half buried in foliage, lined 
the mossy banks; while the dusky groups of women and 
children, clustering about the smouldering flames that 



TITE NIGHT-DANCERS OF WAIPIO. ia3 

betokened the preparation of the evening meal, added 
not a little to the poetry of twilight in the tropics. 

Felix thought he would like to turn Kanaka on the 
fpot; so we beached the canoe, and approached the fire, 
built on a hollow stone under a tamarind-tree, and were 
at once offered the cleanest mat to sit on, and a calabash 
of 'poi for our refreshment. How to eat paste without a 
spoon was the next question. The whole family volun- 
teered to show us; drew up around the calabash in a 
hungry circle, and dipped in with a vengeance. Six 
right hands spread their first and second fingers like 
sign-boards pointing to a focus in the very centre of that 
poi-paste; six fists dove simultaneously, and were buried 
in the luscious mass. There was a spasmodic working 
in the elbows, an effort to come to the top, and in a 
moment the hands were lifted alofb in triumph, and 
seemed to be tracing half a dozen capital O's in the 
transparent air, during which manoeuvre the mass of poi 
adhering to the fingers assumed feir proportions, resem- 
bling, to a remarkable degree, large, white swellings; 
whereupon they were immediately conveyed to the 
several mouths, instinctively getting into the right one, 
and, having discharged freight, reappeared as good as 
ever, if not better than before. 

" Disgusting ! " gasped Felix, as he returned to the 
water-side. I thought him unreasonable in his harsh 
judgment, assuring him that our own flour was fingered 
as often before it came, at last, to our lips in the form of 
bread* " Moreover," I added, " this 'poi is glutinous : 
the moment a finger enters it, a thin coating adheres to 
the skin, and that finger may wander about the calabash 
all day without touching auotber particle of the sub* 



124 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

stance. Therefore^ six or sixteen fellows fingering in one 
dish for dinner are in reality safer than we, who eat 
steaks that have been mesmerized under the hands of 
the butcher and the cook." 

Felix scorned to reply, but breathed a faint prayer for 
a safe return to Chicago, as we slid into the middle of 
the stream, and resumed our course. 

The boughs of densely-leaved trees reached out to one 
another across the water. We proceeded with more 
caution as the channel grew narrow ; and pressing 
through a submerged thicket of reeds, we routed a flock 
of water-fowls that wheeled overhead on heavy wings, 
filling the valley with their clamour. 

Two or three dogs barked sleepily off somewhere in 
the darkness, and the voice of some one calling floated 
to us as clear as a bird's note, though we knew it must 
be far away. We strode through a cane-field, its smoky 
plumes just tipped with moonlight, and saw the pinnacle 
of Mauna Kea, as spacious and splendid as ilie fairy 
pavilion that Nourgihan brought to Pari-Banou, illu- 
minated as for a festival. To the left, a stream fell from 
the cliff, a ribbon of gauze fluttering noiselessly in the 
wind. 

" 0, look 1 " said Felix, who had yielded again to the 
influences of Nature. Looking, I saw the moon resting 
upon the water for a moment, while the dew seemed 
actually to drip from her burnished disc. Again Felix 
exclaimed, or was on the point of exclaiming, when he 
checked himself in awe. I ran to him, and was silent 
with him, while we two stood worshipping one stately 
palm that rested its glorious head upon the glowinor 
bosom of the moon, like the Virgin in the radiant auroela. 



THE NIGHT-DANCERS OF nAIPIO. 125 

'^ Well," said our host, " supposing we get along I " 
We got along, by land and water, into a village in an 
orange-grove. There was a subdued murmur of many 
voices. I think the whole community would have burst 
out into a song of some sort at the slightest provocation. 
On we paced, in Indian file, through narrow lanes, under 
the shining leaves. Pale blossoms rained down upon us, 
and the air was oppressively sweet. Groups of natives 
sat in the lanes, smoking and laughing. Lovers made 
love in the face of heaven, utterly unconscious of any 
human presence. Felix grew nervous, and proposed 
withdrawing ; but whither, Felix, in all these islands, 
wouldst thou hope to find love unrequited, or lovers 
shamefaced withal? Much Chicago hath made thee mad! 

Through a wicket we passed, where a sentinel kept 
ward. Within the bamboo paling, a swarm of natives 
gathered about us, first questioning the nature of our 
visit, which having proved entirely satisfactory, we were 
welcomed in re^l earnest, and ofiered a mat in an inner 
room of a large house, rather superior to the average, 
and a disagreeable liquor, — ^brewed of oranges, very 
intoxicating when not diluted, and therefore popular. 

We were evidently the lions of the hour, for we sat 
in the centre of the first row of spectators who were 
gathered to witness the hula-hula. We reclined as 
gracefully as possible upon our mats, supported by plump 
pillows, stuffed with dried ferns. Slender rushes — 
strung with Aiufciti-nuts, about the size of chestnuts, and 
very oily — ^were planted before us like footlights, which, 
being lighted at the top, burned slowly downward, till the 
whole were consumed, giving a good flame for several 
hours. 



126 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

The great mat upon the floor before us was the stage. 
On one side of it a half-dozen muscular fellows were 
squatted, with large calabashes headed with tightly-drawn 
goat skins. These were the drummers and singers, 
who could beat nimbly with their fingers, and sing 
the epics of their country, to the unceasing joy of all 
listeners. " It's an opera ! " shouted Telix, in a frenzy 
of delight at his discovery. A dozen performers entered, 
sitting in two lines, face to face, — six women and six 
men. Each bore a long joint of bamboo, slit at one end 
like a broom. Then began a singularly intricate exer- 
cise, called pi^lii. Taking a bamboo in one hand, they 
struck it in the palm of the other, on the shoulder, on 
the floor in front, to left and right ; thrust it out before 
them, and were parried by the partners opposite; crossed 
it over and back, and turned in a thousand ways to a 
thousand metres, varied with chants and pauses. " Then 
it's a pantomime," added Felix, getting interested in the 
unusual skill displayed. For half an hour or more the 
thrashing of the bamboos was prolonged, while we were 
hopelessly confused in our endeavours to follow the bar- 
barous harmony, which was never broken nor disturbed 
by the expert and tireless performers. 

During the first rest, liquor was served in gourds. 
Part of Sie company withdrew to smoke, and the con- 
versation t>ecame general and noisy. Felix was enthu- 
siastic, and drank the health of some of the younger 
members of the troupe who had offered him the 

gourd. 

A rival company then repeated the pi~ulu, with some 
additions ; the gourds were again filled and emptied. 
" Now for the hulaJiula,^^ said the host, who had im- 



THE N/GHT'JJANCERS OF WAlPlO, 127 

bibed with Felix, iihough he reserved his enthusiasm for 
something less childish than pUulu. It is the national 
dance, taught to all children by their parents, but so 
dif&cult to excel in that the few who perfect themselves 
can afford to travel on this one specialty. 

There was a murmur of impatience, speedily checked, 
and followed by a burst of applause, as a band of beau- 
tiful girls, covered with wreaths of flowers and vines, 
entered and seated themselves before us. While the 
musicians beat an introductory overture upon the tom- 
toms, the dancers proceeded to bind shawls and scarfs 
about their waists, turban-fashion. They sat in a line, 
facing us, a foot or two apart. The loose sleeves of 
their dreeses were caught up at the shoulder, exposing 
arms of almost perfect symmetry, while their bare 
throats were scarcely hidden by the necklaces of jas- 
mines that coiled about them. 

Then the leader of the band, who sat, grey-headed 
and wrinkled, at one end of the room, throwing back 
his head, uttered a long, wild, and shrill guttural, — ^a 
sort of invocation to the goddess of the hulorhula. 
There had, no doubt, been some sort of sacrifice offered 
in the early part of the evening, — such as a pig or a 
fowl, — for the dance has a religious significance, and is at^ 
tended by its appropriate ceremonies. When this clarion 
cry had ended, tiie dance began, all joining in with won- 
derfully accurate rhythm, the body swaying slowly back- 
ward and forward, to left and right ; the arms tossing, 
or rather waving, in the air above the head, now beck- 
oning some spirit of light, so tender and seductive were 
the emotions of the dancers, so graceful and free the 
movements of the wrists; now in violence and fear, they 



128 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

seemed to repulse a host of devils that hoyered invisiblj 
about them. 

The spectators watched and listened breathlessly, fas- 
cinated by the terrible wildness of the song and the 
monotonous thrumming of the accompaniment. Pre- 
sentlj the excitement increased. Swiffcer and more 
wildly the bare arms beat the air^ embradng, as it were, 
the airy forms that haunted the dancers, who rose to 
their knees, and, with astonishing agility, caused the 
clumsy turbans about their loins to quiver with an un- 
dulatory motion, increasing or decreasing with the 
sentiment of the song and the enthusiasm of the spec- 
tators. 

Felix wanted to know ^^how long they could keep 
that up and live ? " 

Till daybreak, as we found I There was a little rest- 
ing spell — a very little resting spell, now and then — ^for 
the gourd's sake, or three whiffs at a pipe that would 
poison a white man in ten minutes ; and before we half 
expected it, or had a thought of urging the unflagging 
dancers to continue their marvellous gyrations, they 
were at it in terrible earnest. 

From the floor to their knees, from their knees to 
their feet, now facing us, now turning from us, they 
spun and ambled, till the ear was deafened with cheers 
and boisterous, half-drunken, wholly passionate laughter. 

The room whirled with the reeling dancers, who 
seemed encircled with living serpents in the act of swal- 
lowing big lumps of something from their throats clear 
to the tip of their tails, and the convulsions continued 
till the hysterical dancers staggered and fell to the floor 
overcome by unutterable &tigue. 



THE NIGHT-DANCERS OF WAIPTO. 129 

The sympathetic Felix fell with them, his head sinking 
under one of the rush candles, that must have burned 
mto his brain had he been suffered to immolate himself 
at that inappropriate and unholy time and place. This 
was the seductive dance still practised in secret, though 
the law forbids it ; and to the Hawaiian it is more beau- 
tiful, because more sensuous, than anything else in the 
world. 

I proposed departing at this stage of the festival, but 
Felix said it was not practicable. He felt unwell, and 
suggested the efficacy of another attack of lomir-lomi. 

A slight variation in the order of the dances followed. 
A young lover, seated in the centre of the room, beat a 
tattoo upon his calabash and sang a song of love. In a 
moment he was answered. Out of the darkness rose 
the sweet, shrill voice of the loved one. Nearer and 
nearer it approached ; the voice rang clear and high, 
melodiously swelling upon the air. It must have been 
heard far off in the valley, it was so plaintive and pene- 
trating. Secreted at first behind shawls hung in the 
comer of the room, some dramatic effect was produced 
by her entrance at the right moment. She enacted her 
part with graceful energy. To the regular and melan- 
choly thrumming of the calabash, she sang her song of 
love. Yielding to her emotion, she did not hesitate to 
betray all, neither was he of the calabash slow to re- 
spond; and scorning the charms of goat-skin and gourd, 
he sprang toward her in the madness of his soul, when 
she, having reached the cUmax of desperation, was hur- 
ried from the scene of her conquest amid whirlwinds 
of applause. 

" It's a dance, that's what it is 1 " muttered Felix, as 

9 



130 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

(ihe audience began slowlj to disperse. Leading him 
back to the canoe, we had the whole night's orgie re 
ported to ns in a very mixed and reiterative manner, a? 
well as several attempts at illustrating the peculiarities 
of the performance, which came near resulting in a 
watery grave for three, or an upset canoe, at any rate. 
Our host, to excuse any impropriety, for which he felt 
more or less responsible, said ^' it was so natural for 
them to be jolly under all circumstances, that when they 
have concluded to die they make their P.P.C.'s with 
infinite grace, and then die on time." 

Of course they are jolly; and to prove it, I told Felix 
how the lepers, who had been banished to one Uttle 
comer of the kingdom, and forbidden to leave there in 
the flesh, were as merry as the merriest, and once upon 
a time those decaying remnants of humanity actually 
gave a grand ball in their hospital There was a general 
clearing out of disabled patients, and a brushing up of 
old finery, while the ball itself was the topic of conversa- 
tion. Two or three young fellows, who had a few 
fingers left (they unjoint and drop off as the disease 
progresses), began to pick up a tune or two on bamboo 
flutes. Old, young, and middle-aged took a sly turn in 
some dark comer, getting their stiffened joints limber 
again. 

Night came at last. The lamps flamed in the death- 
chamber of the lazar-house. Many a rejoicing soul had 
fled from that foul spot, to flash its white wings in the 
eternal sunshine. 

At an early hour the strange company assembled. 
The wheezing of voices no longer musical^ the shuffing 
of half-paralyzed limbs over the bare floor, the melan- 



THE NIGHT^DANCERS OF WAIPIO. 131 

cholj droning of those bamboo flutes^ and the wild sea 
moaning in the wild night were the sweetest sounds that 
greeted them. And while the flutes piped dolorously to 
this mdovelT spectacle, there was a rushing to and fro 
of unlovely figures ; a bleeding, half-blind leper, seizing 
another of the accursed beings, — snatching her, as it 
were, from the grave, in all her loathsome clay, — 
dragged her into the bewfldering maelstrom of the 
waltz. 

Naturally excitable, heated with exertion, drunk with 
the very odours of death that pervaded the hall of 
revels, that mad crowd reeled through the hours of the 
/efe. Satiated, at last, in the very bitterness of their 
unnatural gaiety, they called for the hvIaJiula as a 
fitting close. 

In that reeking atmosphere, heavy with the smoke 
of half-extinguished lamps, they fed on tiie voluptuous 
abandon of the dancers till passion itself fainted with 
exhaustion. 

"That was a dance of death, was it not, Felix?" 
Felix lay on his mat, sleeping heavily, and evidently 
unmindftd of a single word I had uttered. 

Our time was up at daybreak, and, with an endless 
deal of persuasion, Felix followed me out of the valley 
to the little chapel on the cliff. Our horses took a 
breath there, and so did we, bird's-eyeing the scene of 
the last night's orgie. 

Who says it isn't a delicious spot, — ^that deep, narrow, 
and secluded vale, walled by almost perpendicular cliffs, 
hung with green tapestries of ferns and vines ; that 
slender stream, hke a thread of silver, embroidering a 
ca^et of Nature's richest pattern ; that torrent, leaping 



13a SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

from the cliflF into a garden of citrons ; the sea sobbing 
at its mouth, while wary mariners, coasting in summer 
afternoons, catch gUmpses of the tranquil and forbidden 
paradise, yet are heedless of all its beauty, and reck 
not the rustling of the cane-fields, nor the voices of 
the charmers, because — ^because these things are so 
common in that latitude that one grows naturally in- 
different? 

As for Felix, who talks in his sleep of the hiila- 
hulaj and insists that only by the lomHomi he shall 
bo saved, he points a moral, though at present he is 
scarcely in a condition to adorn any tale whatever ; 
and the said moral I shall be glad to furnish, on applica- 
tion, to any sjinpathetic soul who has witnessed by 
proxy the unlawful revels of those nighi>-dancers of 
Waipio. 




PEABL-HUNTING IN THE POMOTOUS. 

HE " Great Western " ducked in the heavy 
swell, shipping her regular deck-load of 
salt-water every six minutes. Now the 
"Great Western" was nothing more nor 
less than a seventeen-ton schooner, two hours out 
from Tahiti. She was built Uke an old shoe, and 
shovelled in a head-sea as though it was her busi- 
ness. 

It was something like sea Ufe, wading along her 
submerged deck from morning till night, with a piece 
of raw junk in one hand and a briny biscuit in the 
other ; we never could keep a fire in that galley; and 
as for hard tack, the sooner it got soaked through the 
sooner it was off our minds, for we knew to this com- 
plexion it must shortly come. 

Two hours out from Tahiti we settled our course, 
wafting a theatrical kiss or two toward the gloriously 
green pyramid we were turning our backs on, as it 
slowly vanished in the blue desert of the sea. 

A thousand palm-crowned and foam-girdled reefs 
spangle the ocean to the north and east of Tahiti. This 
train of lovely satellites is known as the Dangerous Ar- 



134 SUMMFR CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

chipelagOy or, more commonly in iliat latitnde, the 
Pomotou Islands. It's the very hotbed of cocoa-nut- 
oil, pearls, half-famished Kanakas, shells, and ship- 
wrecks. The currents are rapid and variable ; the 
winds short, sharp, and equally unreliable. If you 
would have adventure, the real article and plenty of it, 
make your will, bid farewell to home and friends, and 
embark for the Pomotous. I started on this principle, 
and repented knee-deep in the deck-breakers, as we 
butted our way through the billows, bound for one of 
the Pomotous on a pearl hunt. 

Three days I sat in sackcloth and salt water. Three 
nights I swashed in my greasy bunk, like a solitary sar- 
dine in a box with the side knocked out. In my heart 
of hearts I prayed for deliverance : you see there is no 
backing out of a schooner, unless you crave death in 
fifty fathoms of phosphorescent liquid and a grave 
in a shark's maw. Therefore I prayed for more 
wind from the right quarter, for a sea like a boundless 
mill-pond; in short, for speedy deliverance on the easiest 
terms possible. Notwithstanding, we continued to bang 
away at the great waves that crooked their backs under 
us and hissed frightfully as they enveloped the " Great 
Western " with spray until the fourth night out, when 
the moon gladdened us and promised much while we 
held our breath in anxiety. 

We were looking for land. We'd been looking for 
three hours, scarcely speaking all that time. It's a 
serious matter raising a Pomotou by moonlight. 

" Land I " squeaked a weak voice about six feet above 
us. A lank fellow, with his legs corkscrewed around 
the shrouds, and his long neck stretched to windward, 



pearl-hvnting in the pomotous, 135 

where it veered like a weather-cock in a nor'wester, 
chuckled as he sung out " Land ! " and felt himself 
a Uttie lower than Christopher Columbus thereafter. 
" Where away ? " bellowed our chunky little captain, 
as important as if he were commanding a grown-up 
ship. " Two points on the weather-bow 1 " piped the 
lookout, with the voice of one soaring in space, but 
unhappily choked in the last word by a sudden lurch 
of the schooner that brought him speedily to the deck, 
where he lost his identity and became a proper noun, 
second person singular, for the rest of the cruise. 

Now, " two points " is an indefinite term that em- 
braces any obstacle ahead of anything; but the "weather- 
bow" has been the salvation of many a craft in her 
distress ; so we gave three cheers for the " weather- 
bow," and proceeded to sweep the horizon with unwink- 
ing gaze. We could scarcely tell how near the land 
might lie ; fancied we could already hear the roar of 
surf-beaten reefs, and every wave that reared before us 
seemed the rounded outhne of an island. Of course 
we shortened sail, not knowing at what moment we 
might find ourselves close upon some low sea-garden 
nestling under the rim of breakers that fenced it in, 
and being morally averse to running it down without 
warning. 

It was scarcely midnight; the moon was radiant; we 
were silently watching, wrapped in the deep mystery 
that huncf over the weather-bow. 

The wind suddenly abated ; it was as though it sifted 
through trees and came to us subdued with a whisper 
of fluttering leaves and a breath of spice. We knew 
what it meant, and our hearts leaped within us as 



136 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

over the bow loomed the wave-like outline of shadow 
that sank not again like the other waves, neither 
floated oflF doud-like, but seemed to be bearing steadily 
down upon us, — ^a great whale hungry for a modern 
JonaL 

What a night it was I We heard the howl of waters 
now ; saw the palm-boughs glisten in the moonlight, 
and the glitter and the flash of foam that fringed the 
edges of the half-drowned islet 

It looked for all the world like a grove of cocoa-trees 
that had waded out of sight of land, and didn't know 
which way to turn next. This was the Ultima Thule 
of the " Great Western's " voyage, and she seemed to 
know it, for she behaved splendidly at last, laying off 
and on till morning in fine style, evidently as proud 
as a ship-of-line. 

I went below and dozed in the cabin, with the low 
roar of the reef quite audible ; a fellow gets used to 
such dream-music, and sleeps well to its accompani- 
ment. 

At daybreak we began beating up against wind and 
tide, hoping to work into smooth water by sunrise, 
which we did easily enough, shaking hands a2 around 
over a cup of thick coffee and molasses as three fathoms 
of chain whizzed overboard after a tough little anchor 
that buried itself in a dim wilderness of corals and sea- 
grass. 

Then and there I looked about me with delighted 
eyes. The " Q-reat Western " rode at anchor in a 
shallow lake, whose crystal depths seemed never to 
have been agitated by any harsher breath than at that 
moment kissed without ruffling its surface. Around 



PEARL-HUNTING IN THE POMOTOUS. 137 

ns swept an amphitheatre of hills, covered with a dense 
growth of tropical foliage and cushioned to the hem of 
the beach with thick sod of exquisite tint and fresh- 
•ness. The narrow rim of beach that sloped suddenly 
to the tideless margin of the lake was littered witii 
numberless slender canoes drawn out of the water like 
so many fish, as though they would navigate them- 
selves in their natural element, and they were, there- 
fore, not to be trusted alone too near it. Around 
the shore, across the hills, and along the higher ridges 
waved innumerable cocoa-palms, planted like a legion 
of lances about the encampment of some barbaric 
prince. 

As for the very blue sky and the very white scud 
that shot across it, they looked windy enough ; more- 
over we could all hear the incoherent booming of the 
sea upon the reef that encircled our nest. But we for- 
got the wind and the waves in the inexpressible repose 
of that armful of tropical seclusion. It was a drop of 
water in a tuft of moss, on a very big scale ; that's 
just what it was. 

In a few moments, as with one impulse, the canoes 
took to water with a savage or two in each, all gravi- 
tating to the schooner, which was for the time being the 
head-centre of their local commerce ; and for an hour 
or more we did a big business in the exchange of fish- 
hooks and fresh fruit. 

The proportion of canoes at Motu Hilo (Crescent 
Island) to the natives of said fragment of Eden was as 
one to several ; but the canoeless could not resist the 
superior attraction of a foreign invader, therefore the 
rest of the inhabitants went head-first into the lake, and 



138 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

struck out for the middle, where we peacefully swung 
at anchor. 

The place was sharky, but a heavy dirk ftdl tweniy 
inches tall was held between the teeth of the swimmers ; 
and if the smoke-coloured dorsal of any devil of a shark 
had dared to cut the placid surface of the water that 
morning, he would speedily have had more blades in 
him than a farrier's knife. A few vigorous strokes of 
the arms and legs in the neighbourhood, a fatal lunge 
or two, a vermilion cloud in a sea churned to a cream, 
and a dance over the gaping corpse of some monster 
who has sucked human blood more than once, probably, 
does the business in that country. 

It was a sensation for unaccustomed eves, that inland 
sea covered — littered, I might say, with woolly heads, 
as though a cargo of cocoanuts had been thrown over« 
board in a stress of weather. They gathered about as 
thick as flies at a honey-pot, all talking, laughing, and 
spouting mouthfuls of water into the air, like those 
impossible creatures that do that sort of thing by the 
half-dozen in all high-toned and classical fountains. 

Out of this amphibious mob one gigantic youth, big 
enough to eat half our ship's crew, threw up an arm 
like Jove's, clinched the deck-rail with lithe fingers, 
and took a rest, swinging there with the utmost satis- 
faction. 

I asked him aboard, but he scorned ia forsake his 
natural element : water is as natural as air to those 
natives. Probably he would have suffered financially 
had he attempted boarding us, for his thick back 
hair was netted with a kind of spacious nest and 
filled with eggs on sale. It was quite astonishing to 



PEARL-HUNTING IN THE POMOTOUS. 139 

see the ease with which he navigated under his heavy 
deck-load. 

This colossal youth having observed that I was an 
amateur humanitarian, virtue received its instant re- 
ward (which it does not in all climates), for he at once 
offered me three of his eggs in a very winning and 
patronizing manner. 

I took the eggs because I Kke eggs, and then I was 
anxious to get his head above water if possible ; there- 
fore I unhesitatingly took the eggs, offering him in 
return a fish-hook, a tenpenny nail, and a dilapidated 
key-ring. 

These tempting curios he spumed, at the same moment 
reaching me another fc»^ndftil of eggs. His generosity 
both pleased and alarmed me. I saw with joy that his 
chin was quite out of water in consequence of his charity, 
even when he dropped back into the sea, floating for a 
few moments so as to let the blood circulate in his arm 
again ; but whether this was his magnanimous gift, or 
merely a trap to involve me in hopeless debt, I was 
quite at a loss to know, and I paused ydih. my hands 
fall of eggs, saying to myself. There is an end to fish- 
hooks in the South Pacific, and dilapidated key-rings , 
are not my staple product I 

In the midst of my alarm he began making vows of 
eternal friendship. This was by no means disagreeable 
to me. He was big enough to whip any two of his 
fellows, and one Ukes to be on the best side of the 
stronger party in a strange land. 

I reciprocated 1 

I leaned over the stem-rail of the " Q-reat Western ** 
in ihe attitude of Juliet in the balcony scene, assuring 



I40 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

that egg-boy that my heart was his if he was willing to 
take it at second-hand. 

He liked my sentiments, and proposed touching noses 
at once (a barbarous greeting still observed in the most 
civilized countries with even greater license, since with 
Christians it is allowable to touch mouths). 

We touched noses, though I was in danger of sliding 
headlong into the sea. Afler this ceremonial he con- 
sented to board the "Great Western," which having 
accomplished with my help, he deposited his eggs at 
my feet, offered me his nose once more, and communi- 
cated to me his name, asking in the same breath for 
mine. 

He was known as Hua Manu, or Bird's Egg. Every 
native in the South Sea gets named by accident. I 
knew a fellow whose name was " Cock-eye ; " he was a 
standing advertisement of his physical deformity. A 
fellow that knew me rejoiced in the singular cognomen 
of "Thrown from a horse." Fortunately he doesn't 
spell it with so many letters in his tongue. His chris- 
tening happened in this wise : A bosom friend of his 
mother was tiirown from a horse and killed the day of 
his birth. Therefore the bereaved mother reared that 
child, an animated memorial, who in after years clove 
to me, and was as jolly as though his earthly mission 
wasn't simply to keep green the memory of his mother's 
bosom friend sailing through the air with a dislocated 
neck. 

I turned to my new-found friend. " Hua Manu," 
said I, "for my sake you have made a bird's-nest of 
your back hair. You have freely given me your young 
affection and your eggs. Receive the sincere tbmks of 



PEARL-HUNTING IN THE POMOTOUS. 141 

yours truly, together with these fish-hooks, these ten- 
penny nails, this key-ring." Hua Manu smiled and 
accepted, burying the fish-hooks in his matted forelock, 
and inserting a tenpenny nail and a key-ring in either 
ear, thereby making himself the envy of the entire 
population of Motu Hilo, and feeling himself as grand 
as the best chief in the archipelago. 

So we sat together on the deck of the " Great 
Western," quite dry for a wonder, exchanging sheepV 
eyes and confidences, mutually happy in each other's 
society. Meanwhile the captain was arranging his 
plans for an inunediate purchase of such pearls as he 
might find in possession of the natives, and for a fresh 
search for pearl oysters at the earliest possible hour. 
There were no pearls on hand. What are pearls 
to a man who has as many wives, children, and 
cocoanuts as he can dispose of? Pearls are small and 
colourless. G-ive them a handfiil of gorgeous glass 
beads, a stick of sealing-wax, or some spotted beans, 
and keep your pale sea-tears, mUky and frozen, and 
apt to grow sickly yellow and die if they are not 
cared for. 

Motu Hilo is independent. No man has squatted 
there to levy tax or toll. We were each one of us 
privileged to hunt for pearls and keep our stores sepa- 
rate. I said to Hua Manu, ^^ Let's invest in a canoe, 
explore the lagoon for fresh oyster-beds, and fill in- 
numerable cocoanut shells with these little white seeds. 
It will be both pleasant and profitable, particularly for 
me." We were scarcely five minutes bargaining for 
our outfit, and we embarked at once, having agreed to 
return in a couple of days for news concerning the 



142 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

success of the "Great Western" and her probable 
date of sailing. 

Seizing a paddle, Hoa Mann propelled onr canoe with 
incredible rapidiiy ont of the noisy fleet in the centre of 
the lake, toward a green point that bounded it, one 
of the horns of the crescent. He knew a spot where 
the oyster yawned in profiision, a secret cave for 
shelter, a forest garden of fruits, a never-failing spring, 
etc. Thither we would fly and domesticate ourselves. 
The long, curved point of land soon hid the inner 
waters from view. We rose and sank on the swell 
between the great reef and the outer rim of the island, 
while the sun glowed fiercely overhead and the reef 
howled in our ears. Still on we skimmed, the water 
hissing along the smooth sides of the canoe, that trem^ 
bled at every fierce stroke of Hua Manu's industrious 
paddle. No chart, no compass, no rudder, no exchange 
of references, no letter of introduction, yet I trusted 
that wild Hercules who was hurrying me away, I knew 
not whither, with an earnestness that forced the sweat 
from his naked body in living streams. 

At last we turned our prow and shot through a low 
arch in a clifi*, so low that we both ducked our heads 
instinctively, letting the vines and parasites trail over 
our shoulders and down our backs. 

It was a dark passage into an inner cave lit from 
below, — a cave filled with an eternal and sunless twi- 
light that was very soothing to our eyes as we came in 
from the glare of sea and sky. 

" Look ! " said Hua Manu. Overhead rose a com- 
pressed dome of earth, a thick matting of roots, coil 
within coil. At the side innumerable ledges, shelves, 



PEARL-HUNTING IN THE POMOTOUS, 143 

and seams lined with nests^ and nerer a nest without 
its egg, often two or more together. Below us, in two 
fathoms of crystal, sunlit and luminous bowers of coral, 
and many an oyster asleep with its mouth open, and 
many a prismatic fish poising itself with palpitating 
gills, and gauzy fins fanning the water incessantly. 

" Hua Manu \ " I exclaimed in rapture, " permit me 
to congratulate you. In you I behold the regular South 
Sea Monte Christo, and no less magnificent title can do 
you justice." Thereat Hua Manu laughed immoderately, 
which laugh having run out we both sat in our canoe 
and silently sucked eggs for some moments. 

A canoe-length from where we floated a clear rill 
stole noiselessly from above, mingling its sweet waters 
with the sea ; on the roof of our cavern fruits flourished, 
and we were wholly satisfied. After such a lunch as 
ours it behoved us to cease idling and dive for pearls. 
So Hua Manu knotted his long hair tightly about his 
forehead, cautiously transferred himself from the canoe 
to the water, floated a moment, inhaling a wonderfully 
long breath, and plunged under. How he struggled to 
get down to the gaping oysters, literally climbing down 
head-first I I saw his dark form wrestling with the 
elements that strove to force him back to the sur&ce, 
crowding him out into the air again. He seized one of 
the shells, but it shut immediately, and he tugged and 
jerked and wrenched at it Uke a young demon till it 
gave way, when he struck out and up for air. All 
this seemed an age to me. I took ftdl tweniy breaths 
while he was down. Beaching the canoe, he dropped 
the great, ugly-looking thing into it, and hung over 
the outrigger gasping for breath like a man half 



144 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

hanged. He was pale about the mouth, his eyes were 
suffused with blood, blood oozed from his ears and 
nostrils ; his limbs, gashed with the sharp corals, bled 
also. The veins of his forehead looked ready to burst, 
and as he tightened the cords of hair across them it 
seemed his only salvation. 

I urged him to desist, seeing his condition, and fear- 
ing a repetition of his first experience; but he would 
go once more; perhaps there was no pearl in that shell; 
he wanted to get me a pearl. He sank again and re- 
newed his efforts at the bottom of the sea. I scarcely 
dared to count the minutes now, nor the bubbles that 
came up to me like little balloons with a death-message 
in each. Suppose he were to send his last breath in 
one of those transparent globes, and I look down and 
see his body snared in the antlers of cond, stained with 
his blood ? Well, he came up all right, and I postponed 
the rest of my emotion for a later experience. 

Some divers remain three minutes under water, but 
two or three descents are as many as they can make in 
a day. The ravages of such a life are something 
frightful. 

iNo more pearl-hunting after the second dive that day; 
nor the next, because we went out into the air for a 
stroll on shore to gather fruit and stretch our legs. 
There was a high wind and a heavy sea that looked 
'^ threatening enough, and we were glad to return after an 
hour's tramp. The next day was darker, and the next 
after that, when a gale came down upon us that seemed 
likely to swamp Motu Hilo. A swell rolled over the 
windward reef and made our quarters in the grotto by 
no means safe or agreeable. It was advisable for us to 



PEARL-HUNTING IN THE POMOTOUS. 145 

think of embarking upon that tempestuous sea^ or get 
brained against the roof of our retreat. 

Hua Manu looked troubled, and my heart sank. I 
wished the pearl oysters at the bottom of the sea, the 
*^ Great Western" back at Tahiti, and I loafing under 
the green groves of Papeete, never more to be deluded 
abroad. 

I observed no visible changes in the weather after I 
had been wishing for an hour and a half. The swell 
rather increased ; our frail canoe was tossed from side 
to side in imminent danger of upsetting. 

Now and then a heavy roller entirely filled the mouth 
of our cavern, quite blinding us with spray ; having 
spent its fury, it subsided with a concussion that nearly 
deafened us, and dragged us with f earftil velocity toward 
the narrow mouth of the cave, where we saved ourselves 
from being swept into the sea by grasping the roots 
overhead and within reach. 

Could I swim ? asked Hua Manu. Alas, no 1 That 
we must seek new shelter at any risk was but too evi- 
dent. " Let us go on the next wave," said Hua, as he 
seized a large shell and began clearing the canoe of the 
water that had accumulat>ed. Then he bound his long 
hair in a knot to keep it from his eyes, and gave me 
some hasty directions as to my deportinent in the emer- 
gency. 

The great wave came. We were again momentarily 
corked up in an air-tight compartment. I wonder the 
roof was not burst open with the intense pressure that 
nearly forced the eyes out of my head and made me 
faint and giddy. Recovering from the shock, with a 
cry of warning from Hua, and a prayer scarcely articu- 

10 



146 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH ^EAS. 

lated, we shot like a bomb from a mortar into the very 
teeth of a frightfiil gale. 

Nothing more was said, nothing seen. The air was 
black with flying spray, the roar of the elements more 
awAil than anything I had ever heard before. Sheets 
of water swept over us with sudi velocity that they 
hammed like drcnlar saws in motion. 

We were crouched as low as possible in the canoe, yet 
now and then one of these, the very blade of the wave, 
struck us on the head or shoulders, cutting us like 
knives. I could scarcely distinguish Hua's outline, the 
spray was so dense, and as for him, what could he do? 
Nothing, indeed, but send up a sort of death-wail, a few 
notes of which tinkled in my ear from time to time, as- 
suring me how utterly without hope we were. 

One of those big rollers must have lifted us dean 
over the reef, for we crossed it and were blown into the 
open sea, where the canoe spun for a second in the 
trough of the waves, and was cut into slivers by an 
avalanche of water that carried us all dovm into the 
depths. 



I suppose I filled at once, but came up in spite of it 
(almost every one has that privilege), when I was 
clutched by Hua Manu and made fast to his utilitarian 
back-hair. I had the usual round of experiences allotted 
to all half-drowned people : a panoramic view of my 
poor life crammed with sin and sorrow and regret ; a 
complete biography written and read through inside of 
ten seconds. I was half strangled, call it two-thirds, for 
that comes nearer the truth ; heard the water singing in 



PEARL-HUNTING IN THE POMOTOUS. 147 

my ears, which was not sweeter than symphonies, nor 
beguiling, nor in the least agreeable. I deny it I In 
the face of every corpse that ever was drowned I em- 
phatically deny it I 

Hna had nearly stripped me with one or two tugs at 
my thin clothing, because he didn't think that worth 
towing off to some other island, and he was willing to 
float me for a day or two, and run the risk of saving me. 

When I began to realize anything, I congratulated 
myself that the gale was over. The sky was dear, the 
white caps scarce, but the swell still sufficient to make 
me dizzy as we climbed one big, green hill, and slid off 
the top of it into a deep and bubbling abyss. 

I found Hua leisurely feeling his way through the 
water, perfectly self-possessed and apparency unconscious 
that he had a deck passenger nearly as big as himself. 
My hands were twisted into his hair in such a way that 
I could rest my chin upon my arms, and thus easily keep 
my mouth above water most of the time. 

My emotions were peculiar. I wasn't accustomed to 
travelling in that fashion. I knew it had been done 
before. Even there I thought with infinite satisfaction 
of the Hawaiian woman who swam for foriy hours in 
such a sea, with an aged and helpless husband upon her 
back. Beaching land at last she tenderly drew her 
burden to shore and found him — dead I The fact is 
historical, and but one of several equally marvellous. 

We floated on and on, cheering each other hour after 
hour ; the wind continuing, the sea £sdling, and anon 
night coming like an ill-omen, — ^night, that buried us 
alive in darkness and despair. 

I think I must have dozed, or fainted, or died several 



148 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS 

times during the night, for it began to grow light long 
before I dared to look for it, and then came sunrise, — a 
sort of intermittent sunrise that gilded Hua's shoulder 
whenever we got to the top of a high wave, and went 
out again as soon as we settled into the hollows. 

Hua Manu's eyes were much better than mine ; he 
seemed to see with all his five senses, and the five told 
^ him that there was land not far off! I wouldn't believe 
1 him ; I think I was excusable for questioning his in&Ui- 
bility then and there. The minute he cried out '^ Land ! " 
I gave up and went to sleep or to death, for I thought 
he was daft, and it was discouraging business, and I 
wished I could die for good. Hua Manu, what a good 
egg you were, though it's the bad that usually keep atop 
of the water, they tell me ! 



Hua Manu was right I he walked out of the sea an 
hour later and stood on a mound of coarse sand in the 
middle of the ocean, with my miserable, water-logged 
body lying in a heap at his feet. 

The place was as smooth and shiny and desolate as 
anybody's bald head. That's a nice spot to be merry in, 
isn't it? Tet he tried to make me open my eyes and 
be glad. 

He said he knew the " Great Western " would be 
coming down that way shortly ; she'd pick us off the 
shoal, and water and feed us. 

Perhaps she might I Meantime we hungered and 
thirsted as many a poor castaway had before us. That 
was a good hour for Christian fortitude : beached in the 
middle of the ocean ; shelterless under a sun that blis- 



) 



PEARL-HUNTING IN THE POMOTOUS. 149 

tered Hua's tough skin ; eyes blinded with the glare of 
sun and sea ; the sand glowing Uke brass and burning 
into flesh already irritated with salt water ; a tongue of 
leather deaving to the roof of the mouth, and no food 
within reach, nor so much as a drop of fresh water for 
Christ's sake 1 

Down went my face into the burning sand that made 
the very air liop above it. . . . Another night, cool and 
grateful ; a bird or two flapped wearily overhead, looking 
like spirits in the moonlight. Hua scanned earnestly 
our narrow horizon, noting every inflection in the voices 
of the wind and waves, — ^voices audible to him, but worse 
than dumb to me, — ^mocking monotones reiterated 
through an agonizing eternity. 

A wise monitor was Hua Manu, shaming me to silence 
in our cursed banishment. Toward the morning after 
our arrival at the shoal, an owl fluttered out of the sky 
and fell at our feet quite exhausted. It might have been 
blown from Motu Hilo, and seemed ominous of some- 
thing, I scarcely knew what. When it had recovered 
from its fatigue, it sat regarding us curiously. I wanted 
to wring its short, thick neck, and eat it, feathers and 
all. Hua objected ; there was a superstition that gave 
that bland bird its life. It might continue to ogle us 
with one eye as long as it liked. How the lopsided 
thing smirked 1 how that stupid owl-face, like a rosette 
with three buttons in it, haunted me 1 It was enough 
to craze any one ; and, having duly cursed him and his 
race, I went stark mad and hoped I was dying for ever. 

« « • • 

There are plenty of stars in this narrative. Stars, and 



ISO SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEA, 

plenty of them, cannot account for the oblivions inter- 
vals, suspended animation, or whatever it was, that came 
to my relief from time to time. I cannot account for 
them myself. Perhaps Hua Manu might ; he seemed 
always awake, always on the lookout, and ever so patient 
and painful. A dream came to me affcer that owl had 
stared me into stone, — a dream of an island in a sea of 
glass ; soft ripples lapping on the silver shores ; sweet 
airs sighing in a starUt grove ; some one gathering me 
in his arms, hugging me dose with infinite tenderness ; 
I was consumed with thirst, speechless with hunger ; 
like an infant I lay in the embrace of my deliverer, who 
moistened my parched Ups and burning throat with 
deUcious and copious draughts. It was an elixir of life; 
I drank health and strength in every drop ; sweeter 
than mother's milk flowed the warm tide unchecked, 
till I was satisfied, and sank into a deep and dreamless 

sleep. 

• • « « 

The " Great Western " was plunging in her old style, 
and I swashed in my bunk as of yore. The captain sat 
by me with a bottle in his hand and anxiety in his coun- 
tenance. 

" Where are we ? " I asked. 

" Two hours out from Tahiti, inward bound." 

"Howl Whatl When!" etc.; and my mind ran 
up and down the record of the last fortnight, finding 
many blots and some blanks. 

" As soon as I got into my right mind I could hear 
all about it ; " and the captain shook his bottle, and held 
on to the side of my bunk to save himself from total 
wreck in the lee-comers of the cabin. 



PEARL-HUNTING IN THE POMOTOUS. 151 

" Why, wasn't I right-minded ? I could tell a hawk 
from a hemshaw ; and, speaking of hawks, where was 
that cursed owl? " 

The captain concluded I was bettering, and put the 
physic into the locker, so as to give his whole attention 
to keeping right side up. Well, this is how it happened, 
as I afterward learned : The " Great Western " suffered 
somewhat from the gale at Motu Hilo, though she was 
comparatively sheltered in that inner sea. Having re- 
paired, and given me up as a deserter, she sailed for 
Tahiti. The first day out, in a light breeze, they all saw 
a man apparently wading up to his middle in the sea. 
The fellow jhailed the " Great Western," but as she 
could hardly stand up against the rapid current in so 
light a wind, the captain let her drift past the man in 
the sea, who suddenly disappeared. A consultation of 
officers followed. Evidently some one was cast away 
and ought to be looked after ; resolved to beat up to 
the rock, big turtle, or whatever it might be that kept 
that fellow afloat, provided the wind freshened suffi- 
ciently; wind immediately freshened ; " Great Western " 
put about and made for the spot where Hua Manu 
had been seen hailing the schooner. But when that 
schooner passed he threw himself upon the sand beside 
me, and gave up hoping at last, and was seen no 
more. 

What did he then? I must have asked for drink. 
He gave it me from an artery in his wrist, severed by 
the finest teeth you ever saw. That's what saved me. 
On came the little schooner, beating up against the 
wind and tide, while I had my lips sealed to that 
fountain of life. 



I $2 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEA. 

The skipper kept banging awaj with an old blunder- 
buss that had been left over in his bargains with the 
savages, and one of these explosions caught the ears of 
Hua. He tore my lips from his wrist, staggered to his 
feet, and found help close at hand. Too late they 
gathered us up out of the deep and strove to renew our 
strength. They transported us to the little cabin of the 
schooner, Hua Manu, myself, and that mincing owl, and 
swung off into the old course. Probably the " Great 
Western" never did better sailing since she came from 
the stocks than that hour or two of beating that brought 
her up to the shoal. She seemed to be emulating it in 
the home run, for we went bellowing through the sea in 
a stiff breeze and the usual flood-tide on deck. 

I lived to tell the tale. I should think it mighty 
mean of me not to live afler such a sacrifice. Hua 
Manu sank rapidly. I must have nearly drained his 
veins, but I don't believe he regretted it. The captain said 
when he was dying his faithfiil eyes wore fixed on me. 
Unconsciously I moved a little ; he smiled, and the soul 
v/ent out of him in that smile, perfectly satisfied. At 
that moment the owl fled from the cabin, passed through 
the hatchway, and disappeared. 

Hua Manu lay on the deck, stretched under a sail, 
while I heard this. I wondered if a whole cargo of 
pearls could make me indifferent to his loss. I wondered 
if there were many truer and braver than he in Christian 
lands. They call him a heathen. It was heathenish to 
offer up his life vicariously. He might have taken mine 
so easily, and perhaps have breasted the waves back to 
his own people, and been fSted and sung of as the hero 
he truly was. 



PEARL-HUNTING IN THE POMOTOUS. 153 

Well, if he is a heathen, out of my heart I would 
make a parable, its rubric bright with his sacrificial 
blood, its theme this glowing text : " Greater love hath 
no man than this, that he lay down his life for a 
friend." 




THE LAST OF THE GEEAT NAVIGATOR. 

[HINK of a sea and a sky of such even and 
utter blueness that any visible horizon is 
out of the question. In the midst of this 
pellucid sphere the smallest of propellers 
trailing two plumes of sea-foam, like the tail-feathers of 
a bird of paradise, and oyer it all a league of floating 
crape, — ^for so seem the heavy folds of smoke that hang 
above us. 

Thus we pass out of our long hours of idleness in that 
grove of eight thousand cocoa-palms by the sea-shore, — 
the artist and I seeking to renew our dolcefar nierUe 
in some new forest of palms by any shore whatever. 
Enough that it is sea-washed, and hath a voice and an 
eternal song. 

Now turn to the stone quarry darkened with the 
crroups of the few faithful friends and many islanders. 
They are so ready to kill time in the simplest manner ; 
why not in staring our awkward little steamer out of 
sight? 

One glimpse of the white handkerchiefs, fluttering 
like a low flight of doves, and then with all the sublime 
resignation of the confessed lounger, we await the 



4 



THE LAST OP^ THE GREAT NAVIGATOR. tJS 

approach of twilight and the later hours that shall pre- 
sently pass silver-footed over this tropic sea. 

Four p.m., and the roar of the reef lost to us voya- 
gers. The sun an hour high. The steams of dinner 
appealing to us through the yawning hatches,— every- 
thing yawning in this latitude, animate and inanimate, 
— and the world as hot as Tophet. We lie upon our 
mattresses, brought out of the foul cabin into the sweet 
air, and pass the night half intoxicated with romance 
and cigarettes. The natives cover the deck of our little 
craft in lazy and laughing flocks. Some of them regard 
us tenderly ; they are apt to love at sight, though 
Heaven knows there is little in our untrimmed exteriors 
to attract any one under the stars. 

We hear, now and then, the sharp dick of flint and 
steel, and after it see the flame, and close to the flame a 
dark face, grotesque it may be, like an antique water- 
spout with dust in its jaws. But some are beautiful, 
with glorious eyes that shine wonderfiiUy in ihe excite- 
ment of Ughting the pipe anew. 

Voices arise at intervals &om among the groups of 
younger voyagers. We hear the songs of our own land 
worded in oddly and rather prettily broken English. 
" Annie Laurie," " When the cruel war is over," and 
other equally ambitious and proportionately popular 
ballads ring in good time and tune from the lips of tlio 
young bloods, but the girls seldom join to any advan- 
tage. How strange it all seems, and how we listen 1 

With the first and deepest purple of the dawn, the 
dim outlines of Molokai arise before us. It is an island 
of difls and canons, much haunted of the King, but 
usually out of the tourist's guide-book. 



156 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS, 

It is hinted one may turn back this modem page of 
island civilization, and with it the half-christianized and 
wholly bewildered natures of the uncomprehending 
natives, and here find all of the old superstitions in their 
original significance, the temples, and the shark-god, 
and the hula-hvJa, girls, beside whose weird and mad- 
dening undulations your can-can dancers are mere 
jumping-jacks. 

Listen for faint music of the wandering minstrels ! 
No, we are too far out from shore : then it is the wrong 
end of the day for such festivals. 

A brief siesta under the opening eyelids of the mom, 
and at sunrise we dip our colours abreast charming 
Uttle Lahaina, drowsy and indolent, with its two or three 
long, long avenues overhung with a green roof of leaves, 
and its odd summer-houses and hammocks pitched close 
upon the white edge of the shore. 

We passed to and fro in the shadow paths an hour or 
two, eat of the fruits, luscious and plentiful, and drink 
of its Uquors, vile and fortunately scarce, and get us 
hats plaited of the coarsest straw and of unbounded rim, 
making ourselves still more hideous, if indeed we have 
not already reached the acme of the unpicturesque. 

Now for hours and hours we hug the shore, slowly 
progressing under the insuflScient shadow of the palms, 
getting now and then glimpses of valleys folded inland, 
said to be lovely and mystical. Then there are mites of 
villages always half-grown and half-starved looking, and 
always close to the sea. These islanders are amphibious. 
The little bronze babies float like corks before they can 
walk half the length of a bamboo-mat. 

Another night at sea, in the rough channel this time, 



THE LAST OF THE GREAT NAVIGATOR. 157 

and less enjoyable for the rather stiff breeze on our 
quarter, and some very sour-looking clouds overhead. 
All well by six, however, when we hear the Angelus 
rung from the lower tower of a long coral church in 
anottier sea-wedded hamlet. Think of the great bam- 
like churches, once too small for the throngs that 
gathered about them, now full of echoes, and whose 
doors, if they still hang to their hinges, will soon swing 
only to the curious winds I 

In and out by this strange land, marking all its 
curvatures with the fidelity of those shadow lines in the 
atks, and so lingering on till the evening of the second 
day, when, just at sunset, we turn suddenly into the 
bay that saw the last of Captain Cook, and here swing 
at anchor in eight fathoms of Uquid crystal over a floor 
of shining white coral, and clouds of waving sea-moss. 
From the deck behold the amphitheatre wherein was 
enacted the tragedy of " The Great Navigator, or 
the Vulnerable God." The story is brief and has its 
moraL 

The approach of Captain Cook was mystical. For 
generations the islanders had been looking with calm 
eyes of faith for the promised return of a certain god. 
Where should they look but to the sea, whence came 
all mysteries, and whither retreated the being they 
called divine ? 

So the white wings of the " Resolution " swept down 
upon the lifelong quietude of Hawaii like a messenger 
from heaven, and the signal gun sent the first echoes to 
the startled mountains of the little kingdom. 

They received this Jupiter, who carried his thunders 
with him and kindled fires in his mouth. He was the 



158 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

first smoker they had seen, though they are now his 
most devout apostles. Showing him all due reyerenoe, 
he failed to regard their customs and traditions, which 
was surely ungodlike, and it rather weakened the faith 
of their sages. 

A plot was devised to test the diviniiy of the pre- 
suming captain. 

While engaged in conversation, one of the chiefs was 
to rush at Cook with a weapon ; should he cry out or 
attempt to run, he was no god, for the gods are fearless; 
and if he was no god, he deserved death for his decep- 
tion. But if a god, no harm could come of it, for the 
gods are immortaL 

So they argued, and completed their plans. It came 
to pass in the consummation of them that Cook did run, 
and thereupon received a stab in the back. Being dose 
by the shore he fell, face downward in the water and 
died a half-bloody, half-watery, and wholly inglorious 
death. His companions escaped to the ship and 
peppered the villages by the harbour, till the inhabit- 
ants, half frantic, were driven into the hills. 

Then they put to sea, leaving the body of their com- 
mander in the hands of the enemy, and with flag at half- 
mast were blown sullenly back to England, there to 
inaugurate the season of poems, dirges, and pageants in 
honour of the Great Navigator. 

His bones were stripped of flesh, afterwards bound 
with ha/pa^ the native cloth, and laid in one of the 
hundred natural cells that perforate the diff in front of 
us, and under whose shadow we now float. Which of 
the hundred is the one so honoured is quite uncertain. 
What does it matter, so long as the whole mountain is a 



THE LAST OF THE GREAT NA VIGATOR. 159 

catacomb of kings ? No commoners are buried there. 
It was a kind and worthy impulse that could still vene- 
rate so far the mummy of an idol of such palpable clay 
as his. 

Many of these singular caverns are almost inacces- 
sible. One must climb down by ropes from the cliflf 
above. Rude bars of wood are laid across the mouths 
of some of them. It is the old tahu never yet broken. 
But a few years back it was braving death to attempt 
to remove them. 

Cook's flesh was most likely burned. It was then a 
custom. But his heart was left untouched of the flames 
of this sacrifice. What a salamander the heart is that 
can withstand the fires of a judgment t 

The story of this heart is the one shocking page in 
this history : some children discovered it afterwards, 
and, thinking it the offal of an animal, devoured it. 
Whoever affirms that the " Sandwich-Islanders eat each 
other," has at least this ground for his affirmation. 
Natives of the South Sea Islands have been driven as 
far north as this in their frail canoes. They were can- 
nibals, and no doubt were hungry, and may have eaten 
in their fashion, but it is said to have been an acquired 
taste, and was not at all popular in this region. 
Dramatic justice required some tragic sort of revenge, 
and this was surely equal to the emergency. 

Our advanced guard, in the shape of a month-earlier 
tourist, gave us the notes for doing this historical nook 
in the Pacific. A turned-down page, it is perhaps a 
little too dog-eared to be read over again, but we all 
like to compare notes. So we noted the items of the 
advance-guard; and they read in this Cushion :«^ 



l6o SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS, 

OBJECTS OF INTEREST RELATING TO CAPTAIN 

COOK. 

Item I. The tree where CcM>k was struck, 

n. The rock where Cook felL 

III. The altar on the hill-top. 

lY. The riven palms. 

y. The sole survivor,— the boy that ran. 

YI. A specimen sepulchre in the cliff. 

Until dark the native children have been playing 
about us in the sea, diving for very smooth ^^ rials/' and 
looking mach as frogs most look to wandering lilipn- 
tians. The artist cares less for these wild and graceful 
creatures than one would suppose, for he confesses them 
equal in physical beauiy to the Italian models. AU 
sentiment seemed to have been dragged out of him by 
much traveL At night we sit together on the threshold 
of our grass house, and not twenty feet from the rock — 
under water only at high tide — ^where Cook died. We 
sit talking far into the night, with the impressive silence 
broken only by the plash of the sea at our very door. 

By-and-by the moon looks down upon us from the 
sepulchre of the kings. We are half clad, having 
adopted the native costume as the twilight deepened 
and our modesty permitted. The heat is still excessive. 
All this low land was made to God's order some few 
centuries ago. We wonder if He ever changes His 
mind ; this came down red-hot from the hills yonder, 
and cooled at high-water mark. It holds the heat like 
an oven-brick, and we find it almost impossible to walk 
upon it at noontime, even our sole-leather barely pre- 
serving our feet from its blistering surface. The natives 
manage to hop over it now and then ; they are about 
half leather anyhow, and the other half appetite 



THE LAST OF THE GREAT NA VIGATOR. i6i 

We come first npon No. II. in the list of historic haunts. 

Let us pass down to the rock, and cool ourselves in 
the damp moss that drapes it. It is almost as large as 
a dinner-table, and as level. You can wade all around 
it, count a hundred little crabs running up and down 
over the top of it. So much for one object of interest, 
and the artist draws his pencil through it. At ten p.m. 
we are still chatting, and have added a hissing pot of 
coffee over some Kve coals to our housekeeping. Now 
down a Kttle pathway at our right comes a native 
woman, with a plump and tough sort of a pillow under 
each arm. These she implores us to receive and be 
comfortable. We refuse to be comforted in this fashion, 
we despise luxuries, and in true cosmopolitan indepen- 
dence hang our heads over our new saddle-trees, and 
sleep heavily in an atmosphere rank with the odour of 
fresh leather ; but not till we have seen our human visitor 
part of the way home. Back by the steep and winding 
path we three pass in silence. She pauses a moment in the 
moonlight at what seems a hitching-post cased in copper. 
It is as high as our hip, and has some rude lettering ap- 
parently scratched with a nail upon it. We decipher 
with some difficulty this legend : — 

Near this spot fell 
CAPTAIN JAMBS COOK, B.N., 

the 

Renowned Circnmnavigatori 

who 

discovered these islands, 

A.D. 1778. 



His Majesty's Ship 

Imogene, 

Oct 17, 1837. 



162 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

So No. I. of our list is checked off^ and no lives lost. 

^^ Aloha /^^ cries a soft voice in the distance. Our 
native woman has left us in onr pursuit of knowledge 
under difficulties^ and now there is no visible trace of 
her and her pillows, — only that voice out of the dark- 
ness crying, " Love to you 1 " She lives in memory, — 
this warm-hearted WaihiTie ; so do her pillows. 

Returning to our lodgings, we discover a square heap 
of broken lava rocks. It seems to be the foundation 
for some building ; and such it is, for here the palace of 
Kamehameha I. stood, — a palace of grass like this one 
we are sleeping in. Nothing but the foundation re- 
mains now. Half a dozen rude stairs invite the ghosts 
of the departed courtiers to this desolate ruin. 

They are all Samaritans in this kingdom. By sunrise 
a boy with fresh coffise and a pail of muffins rides 
swiftly to our door. He came from over the hill. Our 
arrival had been reported, and we are sunmioned to a 
late breakfast in the manner of the Christians. We 
are glad of it. Our fruit diet of yesterday, the horrors 
of a night in the saddle — ^a safe and pretty certain mode 
of dislocating the neck — ^makes us yearn for a good old- 
fashioned meal. Horses are at our service. We mount 
after taking our muffins and coffee in the centre of a 
large and enthusiastic gathering of villagers. They 
came to see us eat, and to fumble the artist's sketches, 
and wonder at his amazing skill. 

Up the high hill with the jolliest sun shining full in 
our eyes, brushing the heavy and dew-fiUed foliage on 
both sides of the trail, and under the thick webs spun 
in the upper branches, looking like silver laces this 
glorious morning, — on, till we reach the hillrtop. 



THE LAST OF THE GREAT NA VIGATOR. 163 

Here the gnide pauses and points his horse's nose 
toward a rude corral* The horses seem to regard it 
from habit^ — ^we scarcely with curiosity. A wall half 
in ruins in the centre, rising from a heap of stones 
tumbled together, a black, weather-stained cross, higher 
than our heads as we sit in the saddle. It is the altar of 
sacrifice. It is here that the heart of the great navi- 
gator survived the flames. 

No. III. scored off. At this rate we shall finish by noon 
easily. The sequel of an adventurous life is soon told. 

After breakfast, to horse again, and back to the little 
village by the sea. We ride into a cluster of palms, our 
guide leading the way, and find two together, each with 
a smooth and perfectly round hole through its body 
about three feet from the roots, made by the shot of 
Cook's avengers. A lady could barely thrust her hand 
through them ; they indicate rather light calibre for 
defence nowadays, but enough to terrify these little 
villages, when Cook's men sent the balls hissing over 
the water to bite through the grit and sap of these 
slender shafts. They still live to tell the tale in their 
way. So much for No. IV. 

We pause again in the queer little straggling alleys of 
the village, planned, I should think, after some spider's 
web. They are about as regular in their irregularity. 
It is No. V. this time. A bit of withered humanity 
doubled up in the sun, as though some one had set him 
on that wall to bake. He is drawn all together ; his 
chin sunk in between his knees, his knees hooped 
together with his dreadfully slim arms, a round head, 
sleek and shining as an oiled gourd ; sans teeth ; eyes 
like the last drops in desert wells ; the skeleton sharply 



i64 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

quick and protruding ; no motion ; apparently no Kfe 
beyond the incessant blinking of the eyelids, — the curtains 
fluttering in the half-shut windows of the soul. Is it a 
man and a brother ? Yes, verily I When the uncaptured 
crew of the " Resolution " poured their iron shot into 
the tents of the adversary, this flickering life was young 
and vigorous, and he ran like a good fellow. Better to 
have died in his fiery youth than to have slowly 
withered away in this fashion. For here is the phi- 
losophy of mammon left to itself : when you get to be 
an old native, it is your business to die ; if you don't 
know your business, you are left to find it out : what 
are you good for but to bury ? 

Let us slip over the smooth bay, for we must look 
into one of these caverns. Cross in this canoe, so 
narrow that we cannot get into it at all, but balance 
ourself on its rim and hold our breath for fear of 
upsetting. These odd-looking outriggers are honest 
enough in theory, but treacherous in practice ; and a 
shark has his eye on us back yonder. Sharks are 
mesmeric in their motions through the water, and 
corpse-coloured. 

A new guide helps us to the most easily reached cave, 
and with ihe lad and his smoking torch we dimb into 
the dusky mouth. 

There is dust everywhere, and cobwebs as thick as 
cloth, hanging in tatters. An almost interminable 
series of small cells, just high enough to straighten 
one's back in, leads us farther and farther into the 
mountain of bones. This cave has been pillaged too 
pften to be very ghostly now. We find a little parcel 
of bones here. It might have been a hand and an arm 



THE LAST OF THE GREAT NAVIGATOR, 165 

once^ cunning and dexterous. It is nothing now but a 
litter. Here is an infant's skull, but broken, thin and 
delicate as a sea-shell, and full of dust. Here is a 
tougher one, whole and solid ; the teeth well set and 
very white ; no signs of decay in any one of these 
molars. Perhaps it is because so Uttle of their food is 
^ven warm when they eat it. This rattles as we lift it. 
The brain and the crumbs of earth are inseparably 
wedded. Come with us, skulL You look scholarly, 
and shall Ue upon our desk, — ^a solemn epistle to the 
living. But the cave is filled with the vile smoke of our 
torch, and we are choked with the heat and dust. Let 
US out as soon as possible. The Great Navigator's 
skeleton cannot be hidden in this tomb. Down we 
scramble into the sand and shadow by the water, and 
talk of departing out of this place of relics. 

We are to cross the lava southward where it is frescoeii 
with a wilderness of palm-trees : for when the mountain 
came down to the sea, flowing red-hot, but cooling 
almost instantly, it mowed down the forests of palms, 
and the trunks were not consumed, but lay half buried 
in the cooling lava, and now you can mark every 
delicate fibre of the bark in the lava, as firm as granite^ 

Still farther south lies the green slope that was so 
soon to be shaken to its foundations. I wonder if we 
could discover any of the peculiar loveliness that 
bewitched us the evening we crossed it in silence. 
There was something in the air that said, "Peace, 
peace " ; and we passed over the fatal spot without 
speaking. But the sea spoke under the clifis below us, 
and the mountain has since replied. 

This place is named prettily, KealekakvAX. You see 



i66 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS, 

that mountain ? There are paths leading to it. Hiither 
the gods journeyed in the days of old. So the land is 
called " the path of the gods." 

It is a cool, green spot up yonder ; the rain descends 
upon it in continual baptism. The natives love these 
mountains and the sea. They are the cardinal points 
of their compass. Every direction given you is either 
toward the mountain or toward the sea. 

Here is much truth in the Arabian tale, and it is 
time to acknowledge it. Mountains are magnetia The 
secret of their magnetism may lie in the immobility of 
their countenances. Praise them to their face, and they 
are not flattered ; forget them for a moment : but turn 
again, and see their steadfast gaze I You feel their ear- 
nestness. It is imposing, and you cannot think lightly 
of it. Who forgets the mountains he has once seen ? 
It is quite probable the mountain cares little for your 
individuality : but it has given part of itself to the 
modelling of your character ; it has touched you with 
the wand of its enchantment ; you are under the spell. 
Somewhere in the recesses of this mountain are locked 
the bones of the Great Navigator, but these mountains 
have kept the secret. 




A OANOB CRUISE IN THE CORAL SEA. J 

I 

;r you can buy a canoe for two calico 
shirts, what will your annual expenses in 
Tahiti amount to? This was a mental 
problem I concluded to solve, and, having 
invested my two shirts, I began the solution in this 
wise : My slender Kttle treasure lay with half its length 
on shore, and being quite big enough for two, I looked 
about me, seeking some one to sit in the bows, for com- 
pany and ballast. 

Up and down the shady beach of Papeete I wan- 
dered, with this advertisement written all over my 
anxious face : — 

" WANTED— A crew about ten years of age; of a mild dis- 
position, and with no special fondness for human flesh; not 
particular as to sex! Apply immediately, at the new canoe, 
nnder the bread-fruit tree, Papeete, South Pacific." 

Some young things were pitching French coppers so 
earnestly they didn't read my face ; some were not sea- 
faring at that moment ; while most of them evidently 
ate more than was good for them, which might result 
disastrously in a canoe cruise, and I set my heart against 
them. The afternoon was waning, and my ill-luck 
seemed to urge upon me the necessity of my constituting 



i68 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

a temporary press-gang for the kidnapping of the re- 
quired article. 

" Who is amdons to go to sea with me ? " I shouted, 
revisiting the mob of young gamblers, all intently dis- 
interested in everything but " pitch and toss." Not far 
away a group of wandering minstrels — such as make 
musical the shores of Tahiti — sat in the middle of the 
street, chanting. One youth played with considerable 
skill upon a joint of bamboo, of the flute species, but 
breathed into from the nostrils, instead of the lips. 
Three or four minor notes were piped at uncertain in- 
tervals, playing an impromptu variation upon the air of 
the singers. Drawing near, the music was suspended, 
and I proposed shipping one of the melodious vaga- 
bonds, whereupon the entire chorus expressed a willing- 
ness to accompany me in any capacity whatever, re- 
marking, at the same time, that " they were a body 
bound, so to speak, by cords of harmony, and any pro- 
posal to disband them would, by it, be regarded as 
highly absurd." Then I led the solemn procession of 
volunteers to my canoe, and we regarded it in silence ; 
it was something larger than a pea-pod, to be sure, but 
about the shape of one. After a moment of delibera- 
tion, during which a great throng of curious spectators 
had assembled, the orchestra declared itself in readiness 
to ship before the paddle for the trifling consideration of 
seventeen dollars. I knew the vague notion that money 
is money, call it dollar or dime, generally entertained by 
the innocent children of nature ; and, dazzling the un- 
accustomed eyes of the flutist with a new two-franc 
piece, he immediately embarked. The bereaved singers 
sat on the shore and lifted up their voices in resounding 



A CANOE CRUISE IN THE CORAL SEA. 169 

discord, as the canoe sKd off into the still waters, and 
my crew, with commendable fortitude, laid down the 
nose-flute, took up the paddle, and we began our canoe 
cruise. 

The frail thing ghded over the waves as though invi- 
sible currents were sweeping her into the hereafter; the 
shore seemed to recede, drawing the low, thatched houses 
into deeper shadow; other canoes skimmed over the sea, 
like great water-bugs, while the sun set beyond the 
sharp outlines of beautiful Morea, glorifying it and us. 

There was a small islet not far away, — ^an islet as fair 
and fragrant as a bouquet, — ^looking, just then, like a 
mote in a sheet of flame. Thither I directed the re- 
formed flutist, and then let myself relapse into the all- 
embracing quietness that succeeds nearly every vexation 
that flesh is heir to. 

There was something soothing in the nature of my 
crew. He sat with his back to me, — a brown back, that 
glistened in the sun, and arched itself, from time to time, 
cat-like, as though it was very good to be brown and 
bare and shiny. From the waist to the feet feU the re- 
splendent folds of a pareUy worn by all Tahitians, of 
every possible age and sex, and consisted, in this case, of 
a thin breadth of cloth, stamped with a deep blue fir- 
mament, in which supematuraUy yellow suns were per- 
petually setthng in several spots. A round head topped 
his chubby shoulders, and was shaven from the neck to 
the crown, with a matted forelock of the blackness of 
darkness falling to the eyes and keeping the sun out of 
ihem. One ear was enlivened with a crescent of beaten 
gold, which decoration, having been won at " pitch and 
toss," will probably never again, in the course of human 



170 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

events, meet with its proper mate. On the whole, he 
looked just a little hit like a fantail pigeon with its 
wings plucked. 

At this point, my crew suddenly rose in the bows of 
the canoe, making several outlandish flourishes with his 
broad paddle. I was about to demand the occasion of 
his sudden insanity, when we began to grate over some 
crumbling substance that materially impeded our pro- 
gress and suggested all sorts of disagreeable sensations^ 
-such as knife-grinding in the next yard, saw-filing 
round the comer, etc It was as though we were ca- 
reering madly over a multitude of fine-tooth combs. 
With that caution which is inseparable from canoe- 
cruising in every part of the known world, I leaned 
over the side of my personal property, and penetrated 
the bewildering depths of the coral sea. 

Were we, I asked myself, suspended about two feet 
above a garden of variegated cauliflowers ? Or were 
the elements wafting us over a minute winter-forest, 
whose fragile boughs were loaded with prismatic crys- 
tals? 

The scene was constantly changing : now it seemed a 
disordered bed of roses, — pink, and white, and orange ; 
presently we were floating in the air, looking down 
upon a thousand-domed mosque, pale in the glamour of 
the Oriental moon ; and then a wilderness of bowers 
presented itself, — ^bowers whose fixed leaves still seemed 
to quiver in the slight ripple of the sea, — blossoming for 
a moment in showers of buds, purple, and green, and 
gold, but fading almost as soon as born. I could 
scarcely believe my eyes, when these tiny, though marvel- 
lously brilliant fish shot suddenly out from some lace- 



A CANOE CRUISE IN THE CORAL SEA. 171 

lite structure, each having the lurid and flame-like 
beauty of sulphurous fire, and all turning instantly, in 
sudden consternation at finding us so near, and secreting 
themselves in the coral pavilion that amply sheltered 
them. Among the deUcate anatomy of these frozen 
ferns our light canoe was crashing on its way. I saw 
the fragile structures overwhelmed with a single blow 
from the young savage, who stood erect, propelling us 
onward amid the general ruins. With my thumb and 
finger I annihilated the laborious monuments of cen- 
turies, and saw havoc and desolation in our wake. 

There, in one of God's reef-walled and diff-sheltered 
aquaria, we drifted, while the sky and sea were glowing 
with the final triumphant gush of sunset radiance. Fefe 
at last broke the silence, with an interrogation : " WeU, 
how do you feel?" "Fefe," I replied, "I feel as 
though I were some good and faithful bee, sinking into 
a sphere of amber, for a sleep of a thousand years." 
Fefe gave a deep-mouthed and expressive grunt, as he 
laid his brown profile against the sunset sky, thereby 
displaying his solitary earring to the best advantage, and 
with evident personal satisfaction. " And how do you 
feel, Fefe ? " I asked. He was mum for a moment ; 
arched his back like any wholesome animal when the 
sun has struck clean through it ; ejaculated an ejacula- 
tion with his tongue and teeth that cannot possibly be 
spelled in English, and thereupon his nostril quivered 
spasmodically, and was only comforted by the immediate 
application of his nose-flute, through which dulcet organ 
he confessed his deep and otherwise unutterable joy. I 
blessed him for it, though there were but three notes, all 
told, and those minors and a trifle flat. 



IT* SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

Fefe's impassioned soul haying subsided^ we bodi 
looked over to beautifnl Morea, nine miles away. How 
her peaks shone like steely and her vaUeys looked full oi 
sleep I while here and there one golden raj lingered for 
a moment to put the final touch to a fruit it was ripen- 
ing or a flower it was painting, — ^for they each have 
their perfect work aUotted to them, and they don't leave 
it half completed. 

It was just the hour that harmonizes everything in 
nature, and when there is no possible discord in all the 
universe. The fishes were baptizing themselves by im^ 
mersion in space, and kept leaping into the air, like 
momentary inches of chain-lightning. Our islet swam 
before us, spiritualized, — suspended, as it were, above 
the sea, — ready at any moment to fade away. The 
waves had ceased beating upon the reef ; the dear, low 
notes of a bell vibrating from the shore called us to 
prayer. Fefe knew it, and was ready, — so was I, — ^and 
with bare heads and souls utterly at peace we gave our 
hearts to God — ^for the time being I 

Then came the hum of voices and the rustle of re- 
newed life. On we pressed towards our islet, under the 
increasing shadows of the dusk. A sloping beach 
received us ; the young cocoa-palms embraced one an- 
other with fringed branches. Hirough green and end- 
less corridors we saw the broad disc of the full moon 
hanging above the hill. 

Fefe at once chose a palm, and, having ascended to its 
summit, cast down its fruit. Descending, he planted a 
stake in the earth, and striking a nut against its sharp- 
ened top, soon laid open the fibrous husk^ with which a 
fire was kindled. 



A CANOE CRUISE IN THE CORAL SEA, 173 

Taking two peeled nuts in his hands, he struck one 
against the other and laid open the skull of it, — ^a clear 
sort of scalping that aroused me to enthusiasm. There 
is one end of a cocoanut's skull as delicate as a baby's, 
and a well-directed tap does the business ; possibly the 
same result would follow with those of infants of the 
right age, — ^twins, for instance. Fefe agrees with me in 
this theory now first given to the public. 

Then followed much talk, on many topics, over our 
tropical supper, — said supper consisting of seaweed 
salad, patent self-stuffing banana-sausages, and cocoanut 
hash. We argued somewhat, also, but in South Pacific 
fashion, — ^which would surely spoil if imported; I only 
remember, and will record, that Fefe regarded the nose- 
flute as a triumph of art, and considered himself no 
novice in musical science, as apphcable to nose-flutes in 
a land where there is scarcely a nose without its par- 
ticular flute, and many a flute is silent for ever, because 
its special nose is laid among the dust. 

Having eaten, I proposed sleeping on the spot, and 
continuing the cruise at dawn. " Why should we return 
to the world and its cares, when the sea invites us to its 
isles? Nature will feed us. In that blest land, clothing 
has not yet been discovered. Let us away 1 " I cried. 
At this juncture, voices came over the sea to us, — ^voices 
chanting like sirens upon the shore. Instinctively 
Fefe's nose-flute resumed its tremolo, and I knew the 
day was lost " Oome I " said the little rascal, as though 
he were captain and I the crew, and he dragged me 
toward the skiff. With terrific emphasis, I commanded 
him to desist. " Don't imagine," I said, " that this is 
a modem " Bounty," and that it is your duty to rise up in 



174 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

matiny for the sake of dramatic jastioe. Nature never 
repeats herself, therefore come back to camp I " 

But he wooldnH come. I knew I shonld lose my 
canoe unless I followed, or should have to paddle back 
alone, — ^no easy task for one unaccustomed to it. So I 
moodily embarked with him; and having pushed off 
into deep water, he sounded a note of triumph that was 
greeted with shouts on shore^ and I felt that my &te 
was sealed. 

It had been my life-dream to bid adieu to the human 
family, with one or two exceptions; to sever every tie 
that bound me to anything under the sun ; to live 
close to Nature, trusting her, and getting trusted by 
her. 

I explained all this to the young " Kanack," who was 
in a complete state of insurrection, but failed to subdue 
him. Overhead the air was flooded with hazy moon- 
light; the sea looked like one immeasurable drop of 
quicksilver, and upon the summit of this luminous sphere 
our shallop was mysteriously poised. A faint wind was 
breathing over the ocean; Fefe erected his paddle in 
the bows, placed against it a broad mat that constituted 
part of my outfit for that new life of which I was 
defrauded, and on we sped like a belated sea-bird seek- 
ing its mossy nest. 

Beneath us slept the infinite creations of another 
world, gleaming from the dark bosom of the sea with 
an unearthly paflor, and seeming to reveal something of 
the forbidden mysteries that lie beyond the grave. " La 
Petite Pologne," whispered Fefe, as he arched his back 
for the last time, and stepped on shore at the foot of 
this singular rendezvous, — a narrow lane threadong the 



A CANOE CRUISE IN THE CORAL SEA, 175 

groves of Papeete, bordered by wine-shops, bakeries, 
and a convent-wall, lit at night by smoky lanterns hang- 
ing motionless in the dead air of the town, and thronged 
from 7 p.m. till 10 p.m. by people from all quarters of 
the globe. 

Fefe having resumed his profession as soon as his 
bare foot was on his native heath again^ the minstrels 
moved in a hollow square through the centre of La 
Petite Pologne. They were rendering some Tahitian 
madrigal, — a three-part song, the solo, or first part, of 
which being got safely through with, — a single stanza, — 
it was repeated as a duo, and so re-repeated through 
simple addition with a gradually increasing chorus; the 
nose-flute meantime getting dehrious, and sounding its 
fi^nale in an ecstasy prolonged to the point of strangula- 
tion, when the whole unceremoniously terminated, and 
everybody took a rest and a fresh start. During these 
performances, the audience was dense and demonstrative. 
Fefe was in his element, sitting with his best side to the 
public, and flaunting his earring mightily. A dance 
followed: a dance always follows in that land of light 
hearts ; and as one after another was ushered into the 
arena and gave his or her body to the interpretation of < 
such songs as would startle Christian ears, — ^albeit there 
be some Christian hearts less tender, and Christian Kps 
less true, — ^to my surprise, Fefe abandoned his piping 
and danced before me, and then came a flash of intuition^ 
— rather late, it is true, but still useful as an explanatory 
supplement to my previous vexations. "Fefel" I 
gasped (Fefe is the Tahitian for Elephantiasia), and mj 
Fefe raised his or her skirts, and danced with a shock- 
ing leg. I really can't tell you what Fefe was. You 



176 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

never can tell by the name. He might have been a 
boy, or she might have been a girl, all the time. I 
don't know that it makes any particular difference to 
me what it was, but I cannot encourage elephantiasis in 
anything, and therefore I concluded my naval engage- 
ment with Fefe, and solemnly walked toward my cham- 
ber, scarcely a block off. The music followed me to my 
door with a song of some kind or other, but the real 
nature of which I was too sensitive to definitely ascer- 
tain. 

GkLzelle-eyed damsels, with star-flowers dangling from 
their ears, obstructed the way. The gendarmes regarded 
me with an eye single to France and French principles. 
Mariners arrayed in the blue of their own sea and the 
whito of their own breakers bore down upon us with 
more than belonged to them. Men of all colours went 
to and fro, like mad creatures; women followed; children 
careered hither and thither. Wild shouts rent the air; 
there was an intoxicating element that enveloped all 
things. The street was by no means straight, though 
it could scarcely have been narrower; the waves stag- 
gered up the beach, and reeled back again; the moon 
leered at us, looking blear-eyed as she leaned against 
a doud; and half-nude bodies lay here and there in dark 
comers, steeped to the toes in rum. Out of this human 
maelstrom, whose fatal tide was beginning to sweep me 
on with it, I made a plunge for my door-knob and 
caught it. Twenty besetting sins sought to follow me, 
covered with wreaths and fragrant with sandalwood oil; 
twenty besetting sins rather pleasant to have around 
one^ because by no means as disagreeable as they should 
be. Fefe was there also, and I turned to address him a 



A CANOE CRUISE IN THE CORAL SEA. 177 



parting word, — a word calculated to do its work in a 
soil particularly mellow. 

" Fefe," I said, " how can I telp regarding it as a 
dispensation of Providence that your one leg is con- 
siderably bigger than your other ? How can I expect 
you, with your assorted legs, to walk in that straight 
and narrow way wherein I have frequently found it 
inconvenient to walk myself, to say noticing of the sym- 
metry of my own extremities ? Therefore, adieu, child 
of the South, with your one earring and your pianoforte 
leg; adieu — ^for ever." 

With that I closed my door upon the scene, and strove 
to bury myself in oblivion behind the white window- 
shade. In vain: the shadow with the moustache and 
goatee still pursued the shadow with the flowing locks 
that fled too slowly. Voices faint, though audible, 
indulged in allusions more or less profane, and with a 
success which would be considered highly improper in 
any latitude. 

Thus sinking into an unquiet sleep, with a dream of 
canoe-cruising in a coral sea, whose pellucid waves sang 
sadly upon the remote shores of an ideal sphere, across 
the window loomed the gigantic shadow of some brown 
beauty, whose vast proportions suggested nothing more 
lovely than a new Sphinx^ with a cabbage in either ear. 



12 




UNDER A GRASS ROOF. 

A IMAW TOKK AT BJLITDOM TBOM A TROPICAL KOTB-BOOK. 

T Kahakoloa, under a terrific hill and close 
upon a frothing tongue of the sea, I draw 
rein. The act is simply a formality of 
mine ; probably the animal would hare 
paused here of his own fr«e will, for he has been rehears- 
ing his stops a whole hour back, during which time he 
limped somewhat and reaped determinedly the few tufts 
of dry grass that Nature had provided him by the trail- 
side. The clouds are falling ; the clifis are festooned 
vrith damp gauze! ; the air is moist and cool ; a grass 
hut of uncommon purity stands invitingly by. A moon- 
faced youth, whose spotless garments appealed to me as 
he overtook our caravan a mile back, says, " Will you 
eat and sleep ? " I am but human, and a hungry and 
sleepy human at that; so I tip off from my mule's back 
with gratitude and alacrity. In a moment the fine linen 
of mine host is hung upon its peg, and a good study of 
the Nude returns to me for further orders. I am lite- 
rally famishing, and the mule is already up to his ears in 
watercress; but then I have ridden and he has carried 
me. How just, Mother Nature, are thy judgments 1 



UADER A GRASS ROOF. 179 

With the superb poses of a trained athlete, the Nade 
swings a fowl by the neck, and shortly it is plucked and 
potted, together with certain vegetables of the proper 
affinities. Then he swathes a fish in succulent leaves^ 
and buries it in hot ashes; and then he smokes his 
peace-pipe. Pipe no sooner lighted than mouths mys- 
teriously gather : five, ten, a dozen of them magically 
assemble at the smell of smoke and take their turn at 
the curled shell, with a hollow stalk for a mouthpiece. 
Dinner at last. fish, fruit, and fowl on a mat on a 
floor in a grass hut at evening! How excellent are 
these — amen I Night — supper over — some one twanging 
upon a stringed instrument of rude native origin. Gos- 
sip lags, — darkness and silence, and a cigarette. The 
Nude rises haughtily and lights a lamp that looks very 
like a diminutive coffee-pot with a great flame in the 
nose of it. He hangs it against a beam already black- 
ened with smoke to the peak of the roof. Again the 
peace-pipe sweeps the home-circle, and is passed out to 
the mouths of the neighbourhood. 

Guests drop down upon us and fill the one aperture 
of the hut with rows of curious, welcoming faces; as- 
sorted dogs press through the door in turn, receive a 
slap from each member of the family, and retreat with 
invisible tails; sudden impulses set all tongues wagging 
in unison; impulses, equally sudden and unaccountable, 
enjoin protracted intervals of silence. The sea breathes 
heavily; there is a noise of rain-drops sliding down the 
thatch. Guests disperse with a kind " alohas We are 
alone with the night. The spirit of repose descends 
upon us; one after another the several members of mine 
host's household roll themselves into mummies and lie 



i8o SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS, 

in a solemn row along the side of the room, sleeping 
I, also, will sleep. A great bark-doth (kapa) that rattles 
as though it had received seven starchings, is all mine 
for covering, — a royal kapa this, of exceeding stifihess. 
I lie with my eyes to the roof, and count the beams that 
look like an arbour. What is it, as large as my thumb, 
cased in brown armour ? A roach I — a melancholy pro- 
cession of roaches passing from one side of the hut, over 
the roof, with their backs downward, and descending 
on the other side by the beams, — ^a hundred of them, 
perhaps, or a thousand: the cry is, " Still they come ! " 
There is a noise of tiny feet upon the roof, and it isn't 
rain; there is a sound as of falling objects that escape 
before I can catch them. My hand rests upon a cool, 
moist creature that writhes under it, — an animated 
spinal column with four legs at one end of it. Away, 
thou slimy newt! Something runs over the matting, 
making a still, small clatter as it goes, — something look- 
ing Uke a toy train of dirt-cars. Ha I the venomous 
and wily centipede ! Put out the coffee-pot, for these 
sights are horrible I 

Now I will sleep with my face under the kapa, — 
silence, serene silence, and darkness profound ; the sea 
beating in agony at the foot of the big hill, — ^a time for 
lofty and sublime revery. More rain outside the hut ; 
gusts of wind, wailing as they rush past us. Thanks 
for this shelter. My pillow saturated with cocoa-nut 
oil — ah, what savage dreams may have disturbed these 
sleepers 1 No matter. Will get a wink of sleep 
before daybreak. Sleep, at last, — ^how refreshing art 
thou I 

Hello I the coffee-pot in ablaze again ; the Nude 



UNDER A GRASS ROOF. t8i 

smoking his peace-pipe ; children eating and making 
merry. Daybreak? No; midnight, perchance, — dark- 
ness without, darkness once more (by request) within. 
"Come again, bright dream." Horror I the house 
shaken as by an earthquake ; gnashing of teeth dis- 
tinctly audible, — ^the mule undoubtedly eating up the 
side of the grass hut I Anon, quiet restored. A sug- 
gestion of moonlight through the open doorj the 
twanging of the stringed affair ; a responsive twang in 
the distance. Some one steals cautiously forth into the 
starUght. All is not well in Kahakuloa. Rain over ; 
mule vegetating elsewhere ; roaches subdued ; sea com- 
paratively quiet. Welcome, kind Nature's sweet re- 
storer ! , . . Humming of voices ; rolling of dogs 
about the house ; ditto of children ditto ; broad day- 
light, and breakfast waiting. Mule saddled, and, with 
a mouthful of roses, looking fresh and happy. Mule- 
boy eager for the fray. Time up. Adieu, adieu — 
beautiful Kahakuloa I I must away. 

Above the terrible hill hang clouds and shadows ; 
fringes of rain obscure the trail as it climbs persist- 
ently to heaven ; but up that trail, into and through 
those clouds and shadows, I pursue my solitary pil- 
grimage. 




MY SOUTH-SEA SHOW. 

IGH in her lady's chamber sat Gafl, looking 
with cabn eyes through the budding ma- 
ples across the hills of spring. Her letter 
was but half finished, and the village post 

was even then ready ; so she woke out of her reverie, 

and ended the writing as follows : — 

" Spring, . 

"I know not where you may be at this moment, — ^living with 
what South-Sea Island god, drinking the milk of cocoa-nut, 
and eating bread-fruit, — ^but wherever you are, forget not your 
promise to come home again, bringing your sheaves with you." 

Anon she sealed it and mailed it, and it was hurried 
away, over land and sea, till, after many days, it found 
me drinking my cocoa-milk and refreshing myself with 
bread-fruits. 

Anon I replied to her, not on the green enamel of a 
broad leaf, with a thorn stylet, but upon the blank mar- 
gins of Gail's letter, with my last half-inch of pencil I 
said to her: — 

Summer, . 

*' By-and-by I will come to you, when the evenings are very 
long, and the valley is still. I will cross the lawn in silence, and 
stand knocking at the south entiy. Deborah will open the door 



MY SOUTH-SEA SHOW. 183 

to me with fear and trembling, for I shall be sunburnt and 
brawny, with a baby cannibal under each arm. Then at a word 
a tattooed youngster shall reach her a Tahitian pearl, and I will 
cry 'Give it to Mistress Gail'; whereat Deborah will willingly 
¥dthdraw, leaving me motionless in the dead leaves by the south 
entry. You will take the token, dear Grail, and know it as the 
symbol of, my return. Tou will come and greet us, and lead us 
to the best chamber, and we will feast with you as long as you 
like, — ^I and my cannibals.'' 

I was never quite sure of what Gail said to my letter, 
but I knew her for a true soul ; so I gathered my can- 
nibals under my metaphorical wings, and journeyed 
unto the village, and came into it at sunset, while it was 
autumn. We passed over the lawn in silence, and stood 
knocking at the south entry, in real earnest. Deborah 
came at last, and the little striped fellow bore aloft his 
pearl of Tahitian beauty, while I gave my message, and 
Deborah was terrified and thought she was dreaming. 
But she took the pearl and went, and we stood in the 
keen air of autumn, and jo^ South Sea babies were very 
cold and moaned pitifully under my arms, and the little 
pearl-bearer shivered in all his stripes, and capered in 
the dead leaves like an imp of darkness. 

Then GUul came to us and let us in, and we c^^mped 
by the great fire in the sitting-room, whither Deborah 
brought bowls of new milk for the little ones, and was 
wonderfully amazed at their quaintness and beauty, but 
quite failed to affiliate with my striped pearl-bearer. 

So I said, "Sit you down, Deborah, and hear the 
true story of my Zebra." Gail had already captured the 
bronze babies, and was helping them with their bowls 
of milk as they nestled at her feet ; and I took my 
striped beauiy between my knees, and stroked his soft 



l84 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS, 

wool, and told how he saved me from a watery death, 
and again from the fiery stake, and was doubly dear to 
me for evermore : — 

" We were at the island of Pottobokee, getting water 
and fruit ; had stacked the last sack of mangoes and 
limes in the boat, and were off for the ship, glad to 
escape with our scalps, when a wave took us amidships 
on the reef, and we swamped in the dreadful spume. 
Some were drowned; some clung to the boat, though it 
was stove badly, while relief came from the vessel as 
quickly as possible, and the fragments were gathered 
out of the waves and taken aboard. 

" They thought themselves lucky to escape with the 
remnants, for they knew the natives for cannibals, and 
the shore was black and noisy within ten minutes after 
the accident It looked stormy in that neighbourhood : 
hence the caution and haste of the relief-crew, who left 
me for drowned, I suppose, as they never came after me, 
but spread everything, and wetot out of sight before 
dark that evening. 

^^ I was no swimmer at all, but I kicked well, and 
was about diving the fatal dive, — ^last of three warnings 
that seem providentially allotted the luckless soul in \is 
extremity : I was just upon the third sinking, when a 
tough little arm gripped me under the breast, and I 
hung over it limp and senseless, knowing nothing fur- 
ther of my dehverance, until I found myself a captive 
in Kabala-kum, — a heathenish sort of paradise, a little 
way back from the sea-coast. 

" The natives had given up all hope of feasting upon 
me, for there wasn't a respectable steak in my whole 
carcase, nor was my appetite promising; so they resolved 



MY SOUTH-SEA SHOW, 185 

to make a bonfire of me, to get me out of the way. 
But that tough little arm that saved me from an early 
grave in the water was husband to a tough little heart, 
that resolved I shouldn't be burnt. I was his private 
and personal property ; he had fished me out of the 
sea ; he would cook me in his own style when he got 
ready, and no one else was to have a word in the 
matter. 

" There he showed his royal blood, Deborah, for he 
was the King's son: this marvellous tattooing proclaims* 
his rank. Only the noble and brave are permitted to 
brand these rainbows into their brown skins. 

" I was almost frightened when I first returned to 
consciousness, and saw this little fellow pawing me in 
his tender and affectionate way. He was lithe as a 
panther, and striped all over with brilliant and change- 
less stripes ; so I called him my boy Zebra, and I sup- 
pose he called me his white mouse, or something of that 
sort. 

" Well, he saved me at all events ; and having heard 
something of you and Gail from me, he wanted to see 
you very much, and we made our escape together, 
though he had to sacrifice all his bone-jewelry, and lots 
of skulls and scalps : and here he is, and you must Uke 
him, Deborah, because he is a little heathen, and doesn't 
go to sabbath-school, as a general thing, and worships 
idols very badly." 

Deborah did me the compliment to absorb a tear in 
the broad hem of her apron, at the conclusion of my 
episode, whereat my beautiful Zebra regarded her in 
utter amazement, then turned his queer face — ringed, 
streaked, and striped — up t-o mine, and laughed his bar- 



l86 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

baric laugh. He was wonderful to see, with his breast 
like a pigeon ; his round, supple, almost voluptuous 
limbs, peculiar to his amphibious tribe ; his head 
crowned with a turban of thick wool, so fine and flossy, 
it looked as though it had been carded: it stood two 
inches deep at a tangent from his oval pate. 

From his woolly crown to the soles of his feet, my 
Zebra was frescoed in the most brilliant Mid artistic 
fashion. Every colour under the sun seemed pricked 
into his skin (there he discounted the zebras, who are 
limited in their combinations of light and shade) : this, 
together with the multiplicity of figures therein 
wrought, was a never-failing joy to me. my Zebra ! 
how did you ever grow so splendid off yonder in the 
South Seas? 

We chatted that evening by Gail's fire, till my Zebra's 
wholly head went dean to the floor, and he looked like 
some prostrate idol about to be immolated on that 
Christian hearth ; and the baby cannibals were as 
fanny as two Uttle brown rabbits, with their ears 
clipped, nestling at Gail's patient feet. 

It was ftiUy nine o'clock by this time, so Deborah 
got the Bible, smoothed out her apron, and opened it 
thereon, while she read a chapter. We sat by the fire 
and listened. I heard the earnest voice of the reader, 
while the autumn winds rose in gusts, and puffed out 
the curtains now and then. I thought of the chilly 
nights and frosty mornings w<^ were to endure, — we 
eddies of the South. I thought of the snows that were 
to follow, and of the Uttle idolaters sleeping through 
the gospel, with deaf ears, while their hearts panted 
high in some dream of savage joy. 



MY SOUTH-SEA SHOW, 187 

There was a big bed made upon the floor of my room, 
— the best chamber at Gail's, — and there I laid out my 
little peto, tucking them in with infinite concern ; for 
they looked so like three diminutive dummies, as they 
lay there, that I did not know whether they would 
think it worth while to wake up again in life ; and 
what should 1 be worth then, without my wild boys ? 
I, who was bom, by some mischance, out of my tro- 
pical element, and whose birthright is Polynesia ! Gail 
laughed when she saw me fretting so, and she patted 
the curly heads of the babies, and stroked the Zebra's 
shaggy pate, and said "Good-night" to us, as her 
step measured the hall, and a door closed in the dis- 
tance ; whereupon, instead of freezing in the icy linen 
of the spare bed at the other end of the room, I crept 
softly into the nest of the cannibals, and we slept Uke 
kittens until morning. 

At a seasonable hour the next days, I got my jewels 
— my little inhuman jewels — into their thick, winter 
clothes again, and we trotted down to breakfest, as 
hungry as bears. Deborah was good enough to em- 
brace both the little ones, but she gave the Zebra a wide 
berth, and was not entirely satisfied at leaving him 
loose in the house. 

He was rather odd-looking, I confess. He used to 
curl up under the table and go to sleep, at all hours of 
the day, — I think it was tiie cold weather that en- 
couraged him in it, — stretching himself, now and then, 
like a spaniel, and showing his sharp saw-teeth in a 
queer way, when he laughed in his dreams. Presently 
Gail came in, and we sat at table, and came near to 
eating her out of house and home. Deborah said 



iS8 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

grace, — rather a long one, considering we were so 
hungry, — a grace in which my babies were not for- 
gotten, and the Zebra was made the subject of a special 
prayer. To my horror Zebra was helping himself surrep- 
titiously to the nearest dish, the while. It was a merry 
meal I rose in the midst of it, and laid before Grail an 
enormous placard, printed in as many colours as even 
the Zebra could boast, and Gail read it out to Deborah : 

JENKINS' HALL. 
IMMENSE ^TTR^CTIONl 

FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY/ 

HOKY AND POKY, 

▲ BRAOB OF 80UTH-SBA BABIEB, TROU THB ANCIENT BIVEBS 

OF KABALA-KUM, 

— ^AND — 

THE WONDERFUL BOY 
ZEBRA, 

A CANNIBAL FMNCE FROM THB PALMT PLAINB OF FOTTOBOKBB, 

IN THEIR GRAND MORAL DIVERSION, 

09^ The first and only opportunity is now afforded the great public 

to obaenre with safety how the heathen, in his blindness, 

bows down to wood and stone. 

0V These are the only original and genuine representatives of the 

KabalakumiBts and Pottobokees that ever left 

their coral strand. 

iLDMISSION, . ChILDBEN, HaLF PrICB. 

Deborah was awed into silence, and Gail was ap- 
parently thinking over the possible result of this strange 
advertisement, for she said nothing, but took deliberate 
sips of coffee, and broke the dry toast between her 
fingers, while she looked at all four of us savages in a 
peculiar and ominous manner. Nothing was said, how- 



AfV SOUTH-SEA SHOW. 189 

ever, to disparage any further announcement of the 
entertainment ; and, having appeased our hunger, we 
adjourned to the reading of another chapter, during 
which the South Sea babies would play cat's-cradles 
under Gail's writing-table, and the Zebra put his foot 
into the middle of her work-basket, and was very 
miserable indeed. 

I was as full of work as could be. As an imprea^ 
sario I had to rush about all day, mustering the Great 
Public for the evening. Out I went, full of it, while the 
bronze midgets were left in charge of Gail and Deborah, 
and the Zebra was locked in an upper room, with 
plenty to eat, and no facilities for getting into mischief. 
I saw the leading men in town : the preacher, who was 
deeply interested, proposing to take up a collection on 
the next sabbath, for our benefit, — ^which proposition I 
received with graceful acquiescence peculiarly my own ; 
the professor, at the Seminary, who was less affable, 
but whose pupils were radiant at the prospect of getting 
into the cannibals at reduced rates ; and the editor, who 
desired to print full biographies of myself and canni- 
bals, with portraits and facsimile of autographs. He 
strongly urged the plausibiKty of this new method of 
winning the heart of the Great Public, and was willing 
to take my note for thirty days, in consideration of his 
personal friendship for me, and his sympathy, as a 
public man and a member of the press, with the show 
business. 

Everything worked so nicely that it really seemed 
quite providential that I had come, as I had, like any- 
thing in the night, — noiseless and unheralded. Every- 
thing was in good order, and, after our late dinner, I 



190 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

went oat again^ to finish for the evemng, — ^portioning 
off my charges, as before, and retaming, at the last 
moment, to bring them up to the hall for their dihut. 
But judge of my horror at finding my Zebra stretched 
upon the floor of his room, qoite insensible ; and all 
this time Jenkins's Hall was thronged with the Great 
Public, who had come to see us bow down to wood 
and stone. 

I was greatly alarmed. What could this sudden 
attack mean ? He was not subject to disorders of that 
nature, — at least, I had never seen him in a similar 
condition. The little fellows began to cry in their 
peculiar fashion, which is simply raising the voice to the 
highest and shrillest pitch, and then shaking to an un- 
limited degree. Gail was by no means charmed at 
these new developments, and Deborah fled from the 
room. In a moment the cause of our trouble was dis- 
^ closed. Quil's cologne bottles were exhumed from 
under the bed — but quite empty. Their contents had 
been imbibed by the Zebra in an extemporaneous bac- 
chanalian festival, tendered to himself by himself, in 
honour of the occasion. 

It was useless to borrow further trouble, so I pre- 
pared my apology : " The sudden indisposition peculiar 
to young cannibals during the early stages of a public 
and Christian career had quite prostrated the represen- 
tative from many a palmy plain ; and the South Sea 
babies would endeavour to fill the vacancy caused by his 
absence with several new and interesting features not 
set down in the bills.'* 

I was most cordially received by the audiences, and 
the littie midgets danced their weird and fantastic 



MY SOUTH'SEA SHOW. 191 

dances, in the least possible clothing imaginable, and 
sang their love-lyrics, and chanted their passionate war- 
chants, and gave the faneral wail in a manner that re- 
flected the highest credit upon their respective South 
Sea papas and mammas. I considered it an entire 
success, and pocketed the proceeds with considerable 
satisfaction. 

But to return to my poor little Zebra. His cologne- 
spree had been quite too much for him. He was mentally 
and physically demoralized, and could be of no use to 
me, professionally, for a week, at least. I at once saw 
this, and as I had two or three engagements during 
that time, I begged Ghtil to allow him to remain with 
her during his convalescence, while I went on with the 
babes and fulfilled my engagements. She consented. 
Deborah also promised to be very good to him. I think 
she took a deeper interest in him when she found how 
very human he was — a fact she did not fully realize until 
he took to drinking. 

On we went, through three little villages, in three 
little valleys, with crowded houses every evening. De- 
lighted and enthusiastic audiences wanted the midgets 
passed around, just as we passed the bone fish-hooks 
and shark' s-teeth combs, for inspection. 

About this time I received a short and decisive epistle 
from Gail, — an inunediate summons home. The Zebra^ 
in an unwatched moment, had got into the kerosene, ^ 
and was considered no longer a welcome guest at Quil's. 
Deborah was praying with him daily, which didn't 
seem to have the desired effect, for he was growing 
worse and worse every hour. 

There were at least seven towns anxiously awaiting 



192 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

my Souih-Sea Lectare, with the ^^ heathen in his blind- 
ness ** attachment. Yet it was out of the question to 
think of pressing on in my tour, thereby sacrificing my 
poor Zebra, and possibly Gail as welL I feared it was 
already too late to save him, for I knew the nature of 
his ailment, and foresaw the almost inevitable result. 
When we returned, Qtiil met us with tears in her eyes, 
and furrows of care foreshadowed in her face. I felt 
how great a responsibility I had shifted upon her shoul- 
ders, and accused myself roundly for such selfishness. 
The babes rushed into her arms with the first impulse of 
love, and refused to allow her out of their sight again 
for some hours. 

Deborah was, even then, wrestling with the angels 
up in Zebra's room, and I waited until she came down, 
with her eyes red and swollen, — a bottle of physic in 
one hand and a Bible in the other ; then I went in to 
my poor, thin, shadowy little Zebra, who was wild-eyed 
and nervous, and scarcely knew me at first, but went off 
into hysterics the moment he found me out, to make up 
for it. He had had no opportuniiy of speaking to any 
one, save in his broken English, for several days, and 
he rushed into a torrent of ejaculations so violent and 
conftising that I was thoroughly alarmed at his condi- 
tion. Presently he grew quieter, from sheer exhaus- 
tion, and then I learned how he had taken Deborah's 
well-intended efforts toward his spiritual conversion. 
He believed her praying hvm to death ! Deborah knew 
nothing of the sensitive organism of these islanders. 
When moved by a spirit of revenge, they threaten one 
another with prayers. Incantations are performed and 
sacrifices offered, under which fearful spells the un- 



MY SOUTH'SEA SHOW. 193 

happy victim of revenge cannot think of surviving. So 
he lies down and dies, without pain, or any effort on 
his part ; and all your physic is like so much water, 
administer it in what proportions you choose. 

I went into the garden, where I saw Gail under the 
maples, — ^the very maples that were budding in pink 
and white when she wrote me the letter bidding me 
come out of the South, bringing my sheaves with me. 
The animated sheaves were even then swinging on the 
clothes-hnes, and taking life easily. " Gail," I said, 
" Gail, the Zebra is a dead boy 1 " Gail was shocked, 
and silent. I told her how useless, how hopeless it was 
to think of saving him. All the doctors and all the 
medicine in the world were a fallacy where the soul was 
overshadowed with a malediction. " Gtiil," I said, 
^^that Zebra says he wants to be an angel, and he 
couldn't possibly have decided upon anything more un- 
reasonable than this. What shall I do without my 
Zebra ? " And I walked off by myself, and felt despe- 
rately, while Gail was wrapped in thought, and the babes 
continued to do inexpressible things on the clothes-lines, 
to the intense admiration of three small boys on the 
other side of the garden-fence. 

The doctor had already been called, and the physic 
that Deborah carried about with her was a legitimate 
draught prescribed by him. Little did he know of the 
death-angel that walks hand-in-hand with a superstition 
as antique as Mount Ararat. So day by day the little 
Zebra grew more and more slender, till his frail, striped 
skeleton stretched itself in a hollow of the bed, and 
great gleaming eyes watched me as they would devour 
me with deathless and passionate love. 

13 



194 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

Sometimes his sonl seemed to steal out of his wither- 
ing body and make mysterious pilgrimages into its 
native cUme. I heard him murmuring and muttering 
in a language unfamiliar to me. Remembered Z 
the chiefs had a dialect of their own, — ^a vocabulary so 
sacred and secret that no conmioner ever dared to study 
out its meaning. This I took to be his classical and 
royal tongue, for he was of the best blood of the king- 
dom, and a king's heir. 

Deborah, at the delicate suggestion of Grail, discon- 
tinued her visitations to his chamber, as it seemed to 
excite him so sadly ; but her earnest soul never rested 
from prayer in his behalf till his last breath was spent, 
and his splendid stripes grew livid for a moment, and 
seemed to change like the dolphin's before their waning 
glories were faded out in the lifeless flesL 

One twilight I took the midgets into the darkened 
room. They scarcely knew the thin, drawn face, with 
the slender, wiry fingers locked over it, but they recog- 
nized the death-stroke with prophetic instinct, and, 
crouching at the foot of the bed, rocked their dusky 
bodies to and fro, to and fro, wailing the death-wail for 
Zebra. 

Then I longed for wings to fly away with my savage 
brood, — away, over seas and mountains, till the palms 
waved again their phantom crests in the mellow star- 
light, and the sea moaned upon the reef, and the rivulet 
leaped from crag to crag through silence and shadow : 
where death seemed but a grateful sleep ; for the soul 
that dawned in that quiet life had never known the wear 
and tear of this one, but was patient, and peaceful, 
and ready at any hour of summons. 



MY SOUTH-SEA SHOW. 195 

Dear Qafl strove to comfort me in my tribulation ; 
but the Great Public went its way, and knew nothing 
of the young soul that was passing in speedy death. 
Yet the Great Public was my guide, philosopher, and 
friend. I could do nothing without its sanction and co- 
operation. I basked in its smiles. I trembled at the 
thought of its displeasure ; and now death was robbing 
me of my hard-earned riches, and annihilating my best 
attraction. No wonder I fretted myself, and berated 
my ill-fortune. Poor Gkil had her hands ftdl to keep 
me within boimds, I rushed to the Zebra's room, and 
vowed to him that if he wouldn't die just yet I would 
take him home at once to his kingdom, and we'd always 
live there, and die there, by-and-by, when we were fiiU 
of years. 

Alas, it was too late I '^ I want to be an angel," 
reiterated my Zebra, his thin face brightening with an 
unearthly light ; ^^ to be an angel," whispered that faint 
and failing voice, while his humid eyes glowed like twin 
moons sinking in the far, mystical horizon of the new 
life he was about to enter upon. I struggled with him 
no longer. I bowed down by his pillow, and pressed 
the shadowy form of my once beautiful Zebra. " Well, 
be an angel, little prince," said I ; " be anything you 
please, now, for I have done my best to save you, and 
£iiled utterly." 

So he passed hence to his destiny; and his nation 
wept not, neither wore they ashes upon their foreheads, 
nor burned seams in their flesh ; for they knew not of 
his fate. But there was a small grave digged in the 
orchard, and at dusk I carried the cofBn in my arms 
thither : how lij^ht it was I he could have bomA me 



196 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS, 

upon his brawny sboulders once, — strong as a lion^s. 
Gail cried, and Deborah cried ; and I was qmte beside 
myself. The mites of cannibals ate earth and ashes, and 
came nearly naked to the obsequies, refusing to wear 
their jackets, though the air was frosty and the night 
promised snow. We knelt there, to cover Zebra for 
the last time, crying and shivering, and feeling very, 
very miserable. 

I took a little rest from business after that ; seeing, 
meantime^ a stone cut in this manner : — 

Here lies, 

In this far land, 

A Pkivos of the Savaok South, 

And the Last of his Tribe. 

But life called me into th« arena again. A showman 
has little time to waste in mourning over his losses, 
however serious they may be. 

One frosty evening I got my brace of cannibals into 
the lumbering ambulance that constituted my caravan, 
with our boxes of war-dubs and carved whaleVteeth 
lashed on behind us, plenty of buffalo-robes around us, and 
a layer of hot bricks underfoot, and so we started for our 
next scene of action. The inexorable calls of the profes- 
sion forbade our lingering longer under Gail's hospitable 
roof; and it was not without pangs of inexpressible sorrow 
that we turned from her door, and knew not if we were 
ever again to enjoy the pure influences of her household. 

My heart warmed toward poor, disconsolate Deborah 
in that moment, and I forgave her all, which was the 
most Christian act I ever yet performed. As we rode 
down the lane, I caught a glimpse of the low mound in 



MY SOUTH-SEA SHOW. 197 

the orchard^ and I buried my little barbarians under my 
great-coat, so as to spare them a fresh sorrow, while I 
thought how, spring after spring, that small grave would 
be covered with drifts of pale apple-blossoms, and in the 
long winters it would be hidden under the paler drifts 
of snow, — when it should be strewn with sea-shells, and 
laid away under a cactus-hedge, in a dense and fragrant 
shade ; and I gathered my httle ones closer to me, and 
said in my soul : " 0, if iiie August Public could only 
know them as I know them, it would doubt us less, and 
love us more 1 The Zebra is gone, indeed, but my babes 
are here, fresh souls in perfect bodies, like rare-ripe 
fruits, untouched as yet, with the nap and the dew upon 
them/' The stars sparkled and flashed in the cloudless 
sky, as we hurried over the crisp ground, — ^a little, be- 
reaved, benighted company of South-Sea strollers, who 
ask your charity, and give their best in return for it. 

I have told you of my South-Sea show. You may 
yet have an opportunity of judging how you like it, 
provided my baby heathens don*t insist upon turning 
mto angels before their time, after the manner of Ibe 
lamented Zebra. In &e meantime, the dread of this 
not improbable curbing of my high career is but one of 
the sorrows of a South-Sea showman. 




THE HOUSE OF THE SUN. 

Y Hawaiian oracle, Kah^le, having posed 
himself in compact and chubby grace, 
awaited his golden opportunity, which was 
not long a-coming. I sat on the steps of 

L ^'s verandah, and yawned frightfully, because life 

was growing tedious, and I did not know exactly what 

to do nejct. L ^'s house was set in the nicest kind of 

climate, at the foot of a great mountain, just at that 
altitude where the hot air stopped dancing, though it 
was never cool enough to shut a door, or to think of 
wearing a hat for any other purpose than to keep the 

sun out of one's eyes. L ^'s veranda ran out into 

vacancy as blank as cloudless sky and shadowless sea 
could make it ; in fact, all that the eye found to rest 
upon was the low hill jutting off from one comer of the 
house beyond a jasmine in blossom ; and under the hill 
a flat-sailed schooner rocking in a calm. I think there 
was nothing else down the slope of the mountain but 
tangled yellow grass, that grew brown and scant as it 
crept into the torrid zone, a thousand feet below us, and 
there it had not the courage to come out of the earth at 
all ; so the picture ended in a blazing beach, with warm 
waves sliding up and down it, backed by blue-watery 



THE HOUSE OF THE SUJ^. 199 

and blue-aiiy space for thousands and thousands of 
miles. 

Why should not a fellow yawn over the situation ? 

especially as L was busy and could not talk much^ 

and L — — ^'s books were as old as the hills and a good 
deal drier. 

Having yawned, I turned toward K^h^le, and gnashed 
my teeth. The little rascal looked knowing ; his hour 
had come. He fired off in broken English, and the 
effect was something like this : — 

" Suppose we sleep in House of the Sun, — ^we make 
plenty good sceneries ? " 

" And where is that ? " quoth I. 

Kah^e's little lump of a nose was jerked up toward 

the great mountain at the back of L 's house. 

" Haleakak I " * cried he, triumphantly, for he saw he 
had resurrected my interest in life, and he felt that he 
had a thing or two worth showing, a glimpse of which 
might content me with this world, dull as I found it 
just then. " Haleakak — the House of the Sun — up 
before us," said Kah^le. 

" And to get into the Sun's House ? " 

" Make a good climb up, and go in from the top 1 ** 

Ha I to creep up the roof and drop in at the skylight : 
this were indeed a royal adventure. " How long would 
it take?" 

Kah^le waxed eloquent. That night we should sleep 
a little up on the slope of the mountain, lodging with the 
haolis (foreigners) among the first clouds ; in the morn- 
ing we should surprise the sun in the turrets of his 

* Haleakala, an extinct crater in the Sandwich l8land«« sup. 
poBed to be the laigest in the world. 



joo SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

temple ; then down — down — down into the crater, €hat 
had been strewed with ashes for a thousand years. 
After that, out on the other side, toward the sea, where 
the trade-winds blew, and the country was fresh and 
fruitftd. The youngster sweated with enthasiiism while 
he strove to make me comprehend the ftill extent of the 
delights pertaining to this journey ; and, as he finished, 
he made a rapid flank movement toward the animals, 
staked a few rods away. 

It was not necessary that I should consent to under- 
take this expedition. He was eager to go, and he would 
see that I enjoyed myself when I went ; but go I must, 
now that he had made up my mind for me. I confess, 
I was as wax in that climate. Yet, why not take this 
promising and uncommon tour ? The charm of travel 
is to break new paths. I ceased to yawn any further 
over life. Kah^le went to the beasts, and began sad- 
dling them. L 's hospitality culminated in a bottle 

of cold, black coffee, and a hamper of delicious sand- 
wiches, such as Mrs. L excels in. I had nothing 

to do but to go. It did look like a conspiracy ; but, as 
I never had the moral courage to fight against anything 
of that sort, I got into the saddle and went. 

Turning for a moment toward the brute's tail, over- 
come with conflicting emotions, I said, — 

" Adieu, dear L , thou picture of boisterous in- 
dustry I Adieu, Mrs. L , whose light is hid under 

the bushel of tliy lord ; but, as it warms him, it is all 
right, I suppose, and thy reward shall come to thee some 

day, I trust I By-by, multitudes of little L s, 

tumbling recklessly in the back-yard, crowned with 
youth and robust health and plenty of flaxen curls I 



THE HOUSE OF THE SUN. aoi 

Away, Kah^le 1 for it is toward evening, and the doads 
are skating along the roof of the House of the Sun. 
Sit not upon the order of your going, but strike spurs 
at once, — ^and away 1 " 

It was thus that I revived myself. The prospect of 
fresh adventure intoxicated me. I do not believe I could 
have been bought off after that enlivening farewell. The 
air of the islands was charged with electricity. I bristled 
all over with new life. I wanted to stand up in my 
saddle and fly. 

It seemed the boy had engaged a special guide for the 
crater, — one accustomed to feeling his way through the 
bleak hollow, where any unpractised feet must have 
surely gone astray. Kah^le offered him a tempting 
bonus to head our httle caravan at once, though it goes 
sorely against the Hawaiian grain to make up a mind 
inside of three days. Kah^le managed the financial 
department, whenever he had the opportunity, with a 
liberality worthy of a purse ten times as weighty as 
mine ; but as he afterward assured me, that guide was 
a fine man, and a friend of his whom it was a pleasure 
and a privflege to serve. 

Of course, it was all right, since I couldn't help my- 
self ; and we three pulled up the long slopes of Halea- 
kala, while the clouds multiplied, as tiie sun sank, and 
the evoning grew awfiilly atilL Somewhere up anu)ng 
the low-hanging mist there was a house fiill of hwli^ 
and there we proposed to spend the night. We were 
looking for this shelter with all our six eyes, while we 
rode slowly onward, having scarcely uttered a syllable 
for the last half-hour. You know there are some im- 
pressive sorts of solitude, that seal up a fellow's lips ; he 



SQl SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

can only look about him in quiet wonderment, tempered 
with a fearless and refreshing trust in that Providence 
who has enjoined silence. Well, this was one of those 
times ; and right in the midst of it Kah^e sighted a 
smoke-wreath in the distance. To me it looked very 
like a doud, and I ventured to declare it such ; but the 
youngster frowned me down, and appealed to the special 
guide for further testimony. The guide declined to 
commit himself in the matter of smoke or mist, as he 
ever did on all succeeding occasions, being a wise guide, 
who knew his own faUibility. It was smoke I — a thin, 
blue ribbon of it, uncoiling itself from among the 
branches of the overhanging trees, floating up and up 
and tying itself into double-bow knots, and then trying 
to untie itself, but perishing in the attempt. 

In the edge of the grove we saw the little white cot- 
tage of the haolia ; and, not far away, a camp fire, 
with bright, red flames dancing around a kettle, swung 
imder three stakes with their three heads together. Tall 
figures were moving about the camp, looking almost 
like ghosts, in the uncertain glow of the fire ; and to- 
wards these lights and shadows we jogged with satis- 
faction, scenting supper from afar. 

^^ Halloo I" said we, with voices that did not sound 
very loud up in that thin atmosphere. 

** ELalloo 1 " said they, with the deepest unconcern, as 
though they had been through the whole range of hu- 
man experience, and there was positively nothing left 
for them to get excited over. 

Some of their animals whinnied m a fashion that drew 
a response from ours. A dog barked savagely until he 
was spoken to, and th^i was obliged to content himself 



THE HOUSE OF THE SUN. 203 



with an occasional whine. Some animal — a sheep, per« 
haps — rose up in the trail before us, and plunged into 
bush, sending our beasts back on their haunches with 
fright. A field-cricket lifted up its voice and sang; and 
then a himdred joined him ; and then ten thousand 
times ten thousand swelled the chorus, till the moun« 
tains were aUve with singing crickets. 

^^ Halloo, stranger I Come in and stop a bit, won't 
you ? " This was our welcome from the chief of the 
camp, who came a step or two forward, as soon as we 
had ridden within range of the camp fire. 

And we went in unto them, and ate of their bread, 
and drank of their coffee, and slept in their blankets, — 
or tried to sleep, — and had a mighty good time gene- 
rafly. 

The mountaineers proved to be a company of Cali- 
fornia miners, who had somehow drifted over the sea, 
and, once on that side, they naturally enough went into 
the mountains to cut wood, break trails, and make them- 
selves useful in a rough, outof-door fashion. They had 
for companions and assistants a few natives, who, no 
doubt, did the best they could, though the Califomians 
expressed considerable contempt for the "lazy devils, . 
who were fit for nothing but to fiddle on a jewVharp." 

We ate of a thin, hot cake, baked in a frying-pan 
over that camp fire ; gnawed a boiled bone fished out of 
the kettle swung under the three sticks; drank big 
bowls of coffee, sweetened with coarse brown sugar and 
guiltless of milk ; and sat on the floor all the while, 
with our legs crossed, like so many Turks and tailors. 
We went to our blankets as soon as the camp fire had 
smothered itself in ashes, though meanwhile Jack, chief 



ao4 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

of the camp, gathered himself to windward of the flames, 
with his hips on his heels and his chin on his knees, 
smoking a stubby pipe, and talking of flush times in 
Califomia. He was one of those men who could and 
would part with his last quarter, relying upon Nature 
for his bed and board. He said to me, ^^ If you can 
rough it, hang on a while, — ^what's to drive you off^? " 
I could rough it : the fire was out^ the night chilly ; so 
we turned in under blue blankets with a fuzz on them 
like moss, and, having pufied out the candle, — ^that lived 
long enough to avenge its death in a houseful of villain- 
ous smoke, — we turned over two or three times apiece, 
and, one after another, fell asleep. At the farther side 
of the house lay the natives, as thick as sheep in a pen, 
one of them a glossy black feUow, as sleek as a eunuch, 
bom in the West Indies, but whose sands of life had 
been scattered on various shores. This sooty fellow 
twanged a quaint instrument of native workmanship, 
and twanged with imcommon skilL His art was the 
life of that savage community at the other end of the 
house. Again and again, during the night, I awoke 
and heard the tinkle of his primitive harp, mingled with 
the ejaculations of delight wrung from the hearts of his 
dusky and sleepless listeners. 

Once only was that midnight festival interrupted. 
We all awoke suddenly and simultaneously, though 
we scarcely knew why ; then the dog began to mouth 
horribly. My blanket-fellows — ^beds we had none — 
knew there was mischief brewing, and rushed out with 
their guns cooked. Presently the dog came in from the 
brush, complaining bitterly, and one of the miners shot 
at a rag fluttering among the bushes. In the morning 



THE HOUSE OF THE SUN. aos 

we found a horse gone, and a couple of bullet-holes in a 
shirt spread out to drj. As soon as the excitement was 
oyer, we returned to the blankets and the floor. The 
eunuch tuned his harp anew, and, after a long while, 
dawn looked in at the uncurtamed window, with a pale, 
grey face, freckled with stars. 

Kah^le saw it as soon as I did, and was up betimes. 
I fancy he slept little or none that night, for he was fond 
of music, and especially fond of such music as had made 
the latst few hours more or less hideous. Everybody 
rose with the break of day, and there was something to 
eat long before sunrise, after which our caravan, with 
new vigour, headed for the summit. 

Wonderful clouds swept by us ; sometimes we were 
lost for a moment in their icy depths. I could scarcely 
see the tall ears of my mule when we rode into tiiose 
opaque billows of vapour that swept noiselessly along 
the awful heights we were scaling. It was a momen- 
tary but severe bereavement^ the loss ofthose ears and 
the head that went with them, because Icared not 
to ride saddles that seemed to be floating in the air. 
What was Prince Firouz Schah to me, or what was 
I to the Princess of Bengal, that I should do this 
thingi 

There are pleasanter sensations than that of going to 
heaven on horseback ; and we wondered if we should 
ever reach the point where we could begin to descend 
again to our natural level, and talk to people infinitely 
below us just then. Ten thousand perpendicular feet 
in the air ; our breath short ; our animals weak in the 
knees ; the ocean rising about us like a wall of sapphire, 
on the top of which the sky rested like a cover, — ^we 



206 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

felt as though we were shut in an exhausted receiver, 
the victims of some scientific experiment for the delec- 
tation of the angels. We were at the very top of the 
earth. There was nothing on our side of it nearer to 
Saturn than the crown of our heads. It was deuced 
solemn, and a trifle embarrassing. It was as though 
we were personally responsible for the planet during 
the second we happened to be uppermost in the universe. 
I felt unequal to the occasion in that thin, relaxing 
atmosphere. The special guide, I knew, would shirk 
this august investiture, as he shirked everything else, 
save only the watchful care of my collapsing porte- 
monnaie. Kah^le, perhaps, would represent us to the 
best of his ability, — ^which was not much beyond an 
amazing capacity for food and sleep, coupled with 
cheek for at least two of his size. There is danger 
in delay, saiih the copybook ; and while we crept 
slowly onward toward the rim of the crater, the sun 
rose, and we forgot all else save his glory. "We had 
reached the mouth of the chasm. Below us yawned 
a gulf whose farther walls seemed the outlines of some 
distant island, within whose depths a sea of cloud was 
satisfied to ebb and flow, whose billows broke noiselessly 
at the base of the sombre walls among whose battle- 
ments we clung like insects. I wonder that we were 
not dragged into that awful sea, for strange and sudden 
gusts of wind swept past us, coming from various 
quarters, and rushing like heralds to the four corners 
of the heavens. We were far above the currents that 
girdle the lower earth, and seemed in a measure cut off 
from the life that was past. We lived and breathed in 
doud-land. All our pictures were of vapour ; our sur- 



THE HOUSE OF THE SUN. 7x^ 

ronndings changed oontintiallj. Forests laoed with 
frost ; silyery, silent seas ; shores of agate and of pearl ; 
blue, shadowy cayems ; mountains of light, dissolving 
and rising again transfigured in glorious resurrection, 
the sun tinging them with infinite colour. A flood of 
radiance swept over the mysterious picture, — a deluge 
of blood-red glory that came and went like a blush ; and 
then the mists fiuled and fled away, and gradually we 
saw the deep bed of the crater, blackened, scarred, dis- 
torted, — a desert of ashes and cinders shut in by sooty 
walls ; no tinge of green, no suggestion of life, no sound 
to relieve the imposing silence of that Uteral death of 
Nature. We were about to enter the guest-chamber of 
the House of the Sun. If we had been spirited away 
to the enchanted cavern of some gemi, we could not 
have been more bewildered. The cloud-world had come 
to an untimely end, and we were left alone among its 
bkckened and charred ruins. That magician, the sun, 
hearing the approach of spies, had transformed his fidry 
palace into a bare and uninviting wilderness. But we 
were destined to explore it notwithstanding ; and our 
next move was to dismount and drive our unwilling 
animals over into the abyss. The angle of our descent 
was too near the perpendicular to sound Uke truth, in 
print. I will not venture to give it ; but I remember 
that our particular guide and his beast were under foot, 
while ElahSe and his beast were overhead, and I and 
my beast, sandwiched between, managed to survive the 
double horror of being buried in the debris that rained 
upon us from the tail-end of the caravan, and slaying 
the unfortunate leaders ahead with the multitude of 
rocks we sent thundering down the diS. A moving 



ao8 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

avalanche of stones and dnst gradnaQy brought as to 
the bed of the crater, where we offered thanks in the 
midst of an ascending dond of cinders, eveiy soul of us 
panting with exhaustion, and oozing like a saturated 
sponge. The heat was terrific ; shelter there was none ; 

L ^'s co£Pee was all that saved ns from despair. 

Before us stretched miles and miles of lava, lookii^ 
like scorched pie-crust; two thousand feet above us 
hung heavy masses of baked masonry, unrelieved by 
any tinge of verdure. To the windward there was a 
gap in the walls, through which forked tongues of mist 
ran in, but curied up and over the ragged cli£&, as 
though the prospect were too uninviting to lure them 
farther. It behoved us to get on apace, for life in the 
deserted House of the Sun was, indeed, a burden, and 
moreover there was some danger of our being locked in. 
The wind might veer a little, in which case an ocean of 
mist would deluge the crater, shutting out light and 
heat, and bewildering the pilgrim so that escape were 
impossible. The loadstone bewitched the compass in 
that fixed sea, and there were no beacons and no sound- 
ing signals to steer by. Across the smooth, hard lava 
occasional traces of a trail were vbible, like scratches 
upon glass. Close to the edges of this perilous path 
yawned chasms. Sometimes the narrow way led over 
a ridge between two sandy hollows, out of which it was 
almost impossible to return, if one false step should 
plunge you into its yielding vortex. There was a long 
pull toward afternoon, and a sweltering camp about 

three p.m., where we finished L 's lunch, and were 

not half satisfied. Even the consoling weed barely 
sustained our fainting spirits, for we knew that the 



THE HOUSE OF THE SUN. 209 

more tedious portion of the journey was yet to 
come. 

The windward vestibule wound down toward the sea, 
a wild gorge through which the molten lava had poured 
its destructive flood. There it lay, a broad, uneven 
pass of dead, black coal, — clinkers, as ragged and sharp 
as broken glass, — threaded by one beaten track a few 
inches in breadth. To lose this trail was to tear the 
hoofs from your suffering beasts in an hour or two, and 
to lacerate your own feet in half the time. Having 
refreshed ourselves on next to nothing, we pressed for- 
ward. Already the shadows were creeping into the 
House of the Sun, and as yet we had scarcely gained 
the mouth of the pass. As we rode out from the shelter 
of a bluff, a cold draught struck us like a wave of 
the sea. Down the bleak, winding chasm we saw clouds 
approaching, pale messengers that travel with the trade- 
wind and find lodgment in the House of the Sun. 
They were hastening home betimes, and had surprised 
us in the passage. It was an unwelcome meeting. 
Our particular guide ventured to assume an expression 
of concern, and cautiously remarked that we were 
palikiay — ^that is, in trouble I For once he was equal 
to an emergency ; he knew of a dry well close at hand ; 
we could drop into it and pass the night, since it was 
impossible to feel our way out of the crater through 
clouds almost as dense as cotton. Had we matches? 
No. Had we dry sticks ? Yes, in the well, perhaps. 
Kah^le could make fire without phosphorus, and we 
could keep warm till morning, and then escape from 
the crater as early as possible. After much groping 
about, in and out of clouds, we found the dusty well 

14 



210 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

and dropped into it. Ferns — ^a few of them — grew 
about its sides ; a dwarfed tree, rejoicing in four angular 
branohes, as full of mossj elbows as possible, stood in 
tbe centre of our retreat^ and at the roots of this 
miserable recluse the Kanakas contrived to grind out 
a flame by boring into a bit of decayed wood with a 
dry stick twirled rapidly between their palms. Dead 
leayes, dried moss, and a few twigs made a short-lived 
and feeble fire for us. Darkness had come upon the 
place. We watched the flaming daggers stab the air 
fitfully, and finally sheathe themselves for good. We 
filled our shallow cave with smoke that drove us into 
the mouth of it^ from time to time, to keep from stran- 
gulation. We saw our wretched beasts shaking with 
cold ; we saw the swift, belated clouds hurrying onward 
in ghostly procession ; we could do nothing but shudder 
and return to our dismal bed. No cheerfiil cricket blew 
his shrill pipe, like a policeman's whistle ; the sea sang 
not for us with its deep, resounding voice ; the Hawaiian 
harp was hushed. A stone, loosened by some restless 
lizard, rattled down the cli£F; a goat, complaining of 
the cold, bleated once or twice. The wind soughed; 
the dry branches of our withering tree sawed across 
each other : these were our comforters during that 
almost endless night. 

Once the heavens were opened to us. Through the 
rent in the clouds we saw a great shoulder of the cliff 
above us, bathed in moonlight. A thousand grotesque 
shadows played over the fitce of it. Pictures came and 
went, — a palimpsest of mysteries. Gargoyles leered at 
us from under the threatening brows of the bluff; and a 
white spectre, shining like a star, stood on the upper- 



THE HOUSE OF THE SUN, 211 

most peak, voiceless and motionless, — some living crea- 
ture lost in admiration of the moon. Then the sky fell 
on us, and we were routed to our solitary cave. 

There is a solitude of the sea that swallows up hope; 
the despairing spirit hangs over a threatening abyss of 
death; yet above it and below it there are forms of life 
rejoicing in their natural element. But there is a soli- 
tude of the earth that is more awful; in it Death taunts 
you with his presence, yet delays to strike. At sea, one 
step, and the spirit is set at liberty, — ^the body is en- 
tombed for ever. But alas ! within the deserts of the 
earth no sepulchre awaits the ashes of him who has 
suffered, and nought but the winds or the foul-feeding 
vultures shall cleanse that bleaching skeleton where it 
lies. 

"We tried to sleep on our stony pillows. Kah^le woke 
and foimd the guide and me dozing; later, the guide 
roused himself to the discovery that Kah^e and I wete 
wrapped in virtuous unconsciousness. Anon I sat up 
among the rocks, listened to the two natives breathing 
heavily, and heard the wind sighing over the yawning 
mouth of our cavern. I heard tie beasts stamping 
among the clinkers, and covered my head again with 
the damp blanket, and besieged sleep. Then we all 
three started from our unrefi^shing dreams, and lo 1 
the clouds were rising and fleeing away, and a faint, 
rosy light over the summit-peaks looked like sunrise; 
80 we rose and saddled the caravan, and searched 
about us for the lost trail. Hour after hour we 
drew nearer to the mouth of the crater. Our pro- 
gress was snail-like ; each one of us struck out for 
himself^ having lost confidence in the cunning of the 



aia SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

other. From small eleyations we took our reckoning, 
and he who got the farthest toward the sea lifted np 
his Yoioe in triumph, and was speedily joined by the 
rest of the party. 

At last we came npon the bluffs that overhang the 
green shores of the island. We were safely out of the 
Sun^s Tabernacle, but not yet free to pass into the lowly 
vales of the earth. Again and again we rode to the 
edges of the cliffs, whose precipitous walls forbade our 
descent. Sometimes we clung to the bare ribs of the 
mountain^ where a single misstep might have sent us 
headlong into the hereafter. Frequently we rejoiced in 
a discovery that promised well; but anon a sheltered 
chasm unveiled its hideous depths, or an indigo-jungle 
laid hold of us and cut us off in that direction. 

Below us lay the verdant slopes of Kaupo. From 
their dried-grass houses flocked the natives, looking like 
ants and their hills. They watched us for hours with 
amused interest. Now and then they called to us with 
faint and far-off voices, — suggestions that were lost to 
us, since they sounded like so many bird-notes floating 
in the wind. All day we saw the little village lying 
under us temptingly peaceful and lazy. Clouds still 
hung below us: some of them swept by, pouring copious 
drops, that drove our audience within doors for a few 
moments; but the rain was soon over, the sim shone 
brighter than over, the people returned to watch us, and 
the day waned. We surprised flock npon fiock of goats 
in their rocky retreats; but they dispersed in all direc- 
tions like quicksilver, and we jjassed on. About dusk 
we got into the grassy land, and thanked God for deli- 
verance. 



THE HOUSE OF THE SUN. 213 

Here Kah^e's heart rejoiced. Here, close by the Kttle 
chapel of Kaupo, he discovered one whom he proclaimed 
his grandfather; though, judging from the years of the 
man, he could scarcely have been anything beyond an 
uncle. I was put to rest in a little stone cell, where the 
priests sleep when they are on their mission to Kaupo. 
A narrow bed, with a crucifix at the foot of it, a small 
window in the thick wall, with a jug of water in the 
comer thereof, and a chair with a game-leg, constituted 
the famishment of the quaint lodging. Kah^e rushed 
about to see old friends, — ^who wept over him, — ^and 
was very long absent, whereat I waxed wroth, and 
berated him roundly; but the poor fellow was so charm- 
ingly repentant that I forgave him all, and more too, 
for I promised him I would stay three days, at least, 
with his uncle-grandfather, and give him his universal 
liberty for the time being. 

From the open doorway I saw the long sweep of the 
mountains, looking cool and purple in the twilight. 
The ghostly procession of the mists stole in at the wind- 
ward gap; the after-glow of the evening suffused the 
front of the chapel with a warm light, and the statue of 
the Virgin above the chapel-door, — ^a little faded with 
the suns of that endless summer, a Kttle mildewed with 
the frequent rains, — ^the statue looked down upon us 
with a smile of welcome. Some youngsters, as naked 
as day-old nest-birds, tossed a ball into the air; and 
when it at last lodged in the niche of the Virgin, they 
clapped their hands, half in merriment and half in awe, 
and the games of the evening ended. Then the full 
moon rose; a cock crew in the peak of the chapel, 
thinking it daybreak, and the little fellows slept^ with 



314 SUMMEk CRUISING IN THk SOVTH SMAS, 

their spines curved like young kittens. By and by the 
moon hungy round and mello^v, beyond the chapel-cross, 
and threw a long shadow in the grass; and then I went 
to my cell and folded my hands to rest^ with a sense of 
blessed and unutterable peace. 




THE CHAPEL OP THE PALMS. 

H^ the long suifering of him who threads a 
narrow trail over the brown crust of a 
hill where the short grass lies flat in tropical 
snnshinel On one side sleeps the bine, 
monotonous sea; on Hie o^evy (^rags clothe themselves 
in cool mist and look dreamy and solemn. 

The boy Elah^e, who has no ambition beyond the bit 
of his foot-sore mustang, lags behind, taking all the 
dust with commendable resignation. 

As for me, I am wet through with the last shower; 
I steam in the fierce noonday heat. I spur Hok^ the 
mule into the shadow of a great cloud that drifts lazily 
overhead, and am grateftil for this unsatisfying shade as 
long as it lasts. I watch the sea, swinging my whip by 
its threadbare lash hke a pendulum, — ^the sea, where a 
very black rock is being drowned over and over by the 
tremendous swell that covers it for a moment; but 
somehow the rock comes to the surface again, and seems 
to gasp horribly in a deluge of breakers. That rock has 
been drowning for centuries, yet its struggle for life is 
as real as ever. 

I watch the mountains, cleft with green, fern- 
cushioned chasms, where an occasional stream silently 



ai6 SUMMEK CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

distils. Far np on a son-swept ledge a wliite^ scatter- 
ing drift, looking like a rose-garden after a high wind, 
I know to be a flock of goats feeding. But the wind- 
dried and son-bnmt grass under foot, the intangible 
dost that pervades the air, the rain-cloud in the dis- 
tance, trailing its banners of crape in the sea as it bears 
down upon us, — ^these annoyed me somewhat, and make 
life a burden for the time being ; so I spur my faithless 
Hok^ up a new ascent as forbidding as any that we 
have yet come upon, and slowly and with many pauses 
creep to the summit. 

Kah^le, " the goer,*' beUes his name, for he loiters 
everywhere and always ; yet I am not sorry. I have 
the first glimpse of Wailua all to myself. I am not 
obliged to betray my emotion, which is a bore of the 
worst sort. 

Wailua lies at my feet, — a valley full of bees, butter- 
flies, and blossoms, the sea fawning at the mouth of it, 
the clouds melting over it ; waterfalls gushing from 
numerous green comers ; silver-white phaetons floating 
in mid-4iir, at a loss to choose between earth and 
heaven, though evidently a httle inclined earthward, 
for they no sooner drift out of the bewildering bowers 
of Wailua than they return again with noticeable haste. 

Down I plunge into the depths of the valley, with the 
first drops of a heavy shower pelting me in the back; 
and under a great tree, that seems yearning to shelter 
somebody, I pause till the rain is over. 

Anon the slow-footed Kah^le arrives, leaking all over, 
and bringing a peace-oflering of ohias, the native apple, 
as juicy and sweet as the forbidden fruits of Paradise. 
As for these apples, they have solitary seed, like a nut- 



THE CHAPEL OF THE PALMS. 217 

meg, a pulp as white as wax, a juice flavoured with 
roses, and their skin as red as a peony and as glossy as 
varnish. These we munch and munch while the forest 
reels under the impetuous avalanches of big rain-drops, 
and our animals tear great tufts of sweet grass from the 
upper roadside. 

Is it far to the chapel, I wonder. Kah^le thinks not, 
— perhaps a pari or two distant. But a pari, a cliff, has 
many antecedents, and I feel that some dozen or so of 
climbs, each more or less fatiguing, still separate me 
from the rest I am seeking, and hope not to find until I 
reach the abode of Pfere FideUs, at the foot of the cross, 
as one might say. 

The rain ceases. Hok^ once more nerves himself for 
fresh assaults upon the everlasting hills. Kah^le drops 
behind as usual, and the afternoon wanes. 

How fresh seems the memory of this journey, yet its 
place is with the archives of the past. I seem to breathe 
the incense of orange-flowers, and to hear the whisper of 
distant waterfalls as I write. 

It must have been toward sunset, — ^we were thread- 
ing the eastern coast, and a great mountain filled the 
west — ^but I felt that it was the hour when day ends 
and night begins. The heavy clouds looked as tiiough 
they were stfll brimful of sunlight, yet no ray escaped 
to gladden our side of the world. 

Finally, on the brow of what seemed to be the last 
hill in this life, I saw a cross, — ^a cross among the palms. 
Hok^ saw it, and quickened his pace : he was not so 
great an ass but he knew that there was provender in 
the green pastures of Pfere Fidelis, and his heart 
freshened within him. 



tiS SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

A few paces from the grove of palms I heard a bell 
swing jubilantly. Out over the solemn sea, up and 
down that foam-crested shore, rang the sweet Angelus. 
One may pray with some fervour when one's journey is 
at an end. When the prayer was over, I walked to the 
gate of the chapel-yard, leading the willing Hok^, and 
at that moment a slender figure, dad all in black, his 
long robes flowing gracefully about him, his boyish 
face heightening the effect of his grave and serene 
demeanour, his thin, sensitive hands held forth in 
hearty welcome, — ^a welcome that was almost like a 
benediction, so spiritual was the love which it ex- 
pressed, — came out, and I found myself in the arms 
of Pire Fidelis, feeling like one who has at least 
1>^en permitted to kneel upon the threshold of his 
Mecca. 

Why do our hearts sing jvhUate when we meet a 
friend for the first time ? What is it within us that 
with its life-long yearning comes suddenly upon the all- 
sufficient one, and in a moment is crowned and satis- 
fied? I could not tell whether I was at last waking 
from a sleep or just sinking into a dream. I could have 
sat there at his feet contented ; I could have put off my 
worldly cares, resigned ambition, forgotten the past, 
and, in the blessed tranquillity of that hour, have dwelt 
joyfully under the palms with him, seeking only to 
follow in his patient footsteps until the end should 
come. 

Perhaps it was the realization of an ideal that 
plunged me into a luxurious reverie, out of which I 
was summoned by mon pire, who hinted that I must 
be hungry. Prophetic father! hungry I was indeed. 



THk CHAPEL OP THE PALMS. 219 

Monphre led me to his little house with three rooms, 
and installed me host, himself being my ever-watchful 
attendant. Then he spoke : ^^ The lads were at the sea, 
fishing : would I excuse him for a moment ? " 

Alone in the little house, with a glass of claret and a 
hard biscuit for refreshment, I looked about me. The 
central room, in which I sat, was bare to nakedness : a 
few devotional books, a small clock high up on the 
wall, with a short wagging penduliun, two or three 
paintings, betraying more sentiment than merit, a table, 
a wooden form against the window, and a crucifix, 
complete its inventory. A high window was at 
my back ; a door in front opening upon a verandah 
shaded with a passion-vine ; beyond it a green, undu- 
lating country running down into the sea ; on either 
hand a UtUe cell containing nothing but a narrow bed, 
a saint's picture, and a rosary. Kah^le, having distri- 
buted the animals in good pasturage, lay on the veran- 
dah at fiill length, supremely happy as he jingled his 
spurs over the edge of the steps, and hununed a native 
air in subdued fisdsetto, like a mosquito. 

Again I sank into a reverie. Enter mon phre with 
apologies and a plate of smoking cakes made of eggs 
and batter, his own handiwork ; enter the lads from 
the sea with excellent fish, knotted in long wisps of 
grass ; enter Kah^le, lazily snifiing the savoury odours 
of our repast with evident relish ; and then supper in 
good earnest. 

How happy we were, having such talks in several 
sorts of tongues, such polyglot efforts towards socia- 
biliiy, — French, English, and native in equal parts, but 
each broken and spliced to suit our dire necessity I The 



220 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS, 

candle flamed and flickered in the land-breeze that 
swept through the house, — ^unctuous waxen stalactites 
decorated it almost past recognition ; the crickets sang 
lustily at the doorway ; the little natives grew sleepy 
and curled up on their mats in the comer; Kah^le 
slept in his spurs like a bom muleteer. And now a 
sudden conviction seized us that it was bedtime in very 
truth ; so mon pire led me to one of the cells, saying, 
" Will you sleep in the room of Pfere Amabills ? " 
Yea, verily, with all humility ; and there I slept after 
the benediction, during which the young priest's face 
looked almost Uke an angel's in its youthful holiness, 
and I was afraid I might wake in the morning and 
find him gone, transported to some other and more 
lovely world. 

But I didn't. Pfere Fidelis was up before daybreak. 
It was his hand that clashed the joyful Angelus at sun- 
rise that woko me from my happy dream ; it was his 
band ihat prepared the frugal but appetizing meal ; he 
made the cofiPee, such rich, black, aromatic cofiee as 
Frenchmen alone have the faculty of producing. He 
had an eye to the welfare of the animals also, and seemed 
to be commander-in-chief of a£Pairs secular as well as 
ecclesiastical ; yet he was so young I 

There was a day of brief incursions mountain-ward, 
with ihe happiest results. There were welcomes show- 
ered upon me for his sake ; he was ever ministering to 
my temporal wants, and puzzling me with dissertations 
in assorted languages. 

By happy fortune a Sunday followed when the 
Ohfq)el of the Palms was thronged with dusky worship- 
pers ; not a white &ce present but the father's and mine 



THE CHAPEL OF THE PALMS. aai 

own, yet a common trust in the blessedness of the life 
to come struck the key-note of universal harmony, and 
we sang the Magnificat with one voice. There was 
something that fretted me in all this admirable expe- 
rience : Pfere Fidelis could touch neither bread nor 
water until after the last mass. Hour by hour he grew 
paler and fainter, spite of the heroic fortitude that sus- 
tained his famishing body. 

" Mon pirej' said I, " you must eat, cfr go to heaven 
betimes." He would not "You must end with an 
earlier mass," I persisted. It was impossible : many 
parishioners came from miles away; some of these 
started at daybreak, as it was, and they would be unable 
to arrive in season for an earlier mass. Excellent 
martyr ! thought I, to offer thy body a living sacrifice 
for the edification of these savage Christians 1 At last 
he ate, but not until appetite itself had perished. Then 
troops of children gathered about him clamouring to 
kiss the hand of the priestiy youth; old men and women 
passed him with heads uncovered, amazed at the devo- 
tion of one they could not hope to emulate. 

Whenever I referred to his hfe, he at once led me to 
admire his fellow-apostle, who was continually in his 
thoughts. Pere Amabilis was miles away, repairing a 
chapel that had suffered somewhat in a late gale ; Phre 
Amabilis would be so glad to see me ; I must not fail 
to visit him ; and for fear of some mischance, Pfere 
Fidelis would himself conduct me to him. 

The way was hard, — deep chasms to penetrate, swift 
streams to be forded, narrow and slippery trails to be 
threaded through forest, swamp, and wilderness. These 
obstacles separated the devoted friends, but not for long 



SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

seasons. F^re Fidelia would go to him whom he had 
not laid ejes on for a fortnight at least. 

The boy Kah^le was glad of companionship ; one of 
the small fishers, an acolyte of the chapel, would accom- 
pany us, and together they could lag behind, eating 
ohias and dabbling in ev^ery stream. 

A long day's journey followed. We wended our way 
through jungles of lauhala, with slim roots in the air 
and long branches trailing about them like vines ; they 
were like great cages of roots and branches in a woven 
snarL We saw a rocky point jutting far into the sea. 
" Pfere Amabihs dwells just beyond that cape," said my 
companion, fondly; and it seemed not very far distant ; 
but our pace was slow and wearisome, and the hours 
were sure to distance us. We fathomed dark ravines 
whose farther walls were but a stone's throw from us, 
but in whose profound depths a swifl torrent rushed 
madly to the sea, threatening to carry us to our destruo^ 
tion, — ^green, precipitous troughs, where the tide of 
mountain-rain was lashed into fury, and with its death- 
song drowned our voices and filled our animals with 
terror. 

Now and then we paused to breathe, man and beast 
panting with fatigue ; sometimes the rain drove us into 
the thick wood for shelter ; sometimes a brief deluge, 
the offspring of a rent cloud at the head of the ravine, 
stayed our progress for half an hour, until its volume 
was somewhat spent and the stream was again fordable. 
Here we talked of the daily miracles in nature. Again 
and again the young fisithers are called forth into the 
wilderness to attend on the sick and dying. Little 
chapels are hidden away among the mountains and 



T^ 



THE CHAPEL OF THE PALMS. 223 

through the valleys ; all these must be visited in turn. 
Their life is an actual pilgrimage from chapel to chapel, 
which nothing but physical inability may interrupt. 

At one spot I saw a tree under which Pfere Fidelis 
once passed a tempestuous night. On either side yawned 
a ravine swept by an impassable flood. There was no 
house within reach. On the soaked earth, with a piti- 
less gale sweeping over the land, from sunset to simrise 
he lay without the consolation of one companion. Food 
was frequently scarce: a few limpets, about as palatable 
as parboiled shoe-leather, a paste of roast yams and 
water, a lime perhaps, and nothing besides but limipy 
salt from ihe sea-shore. 

While we were riding a herald met us bearing a 
letter for TM)n pire. It was a greeting from Pere 
Amabilis, who announced the chapel as rapidly nearing 
its complete restoration. Pfere Kdelis fairly wept for 
joy at this intelligence, and burst into a panegyric upon 
the unrivalled ingenuity of his spiritual associate. We 
were sure to surprise him at work, and this trifling 
episode seemed to be an event of some importance in 
the isolated life they led. 

At sunset we passed into the open vale of Wailuanui, 
and saw the chapel looking fresh and tidy on the slope 
of the bin toward the sea. Two waterfalls that fell 
against the sunset flashed like falling flame, and a soft 
haze tinged the slumberous solitudes of wood and pas- 
ture with the dream-like loveliness of a picture. There 
seemed to be but one sound audible, — ^the quick, sharp 
blows of a hammer. Pfere Fidelis listened with eyes 
sparkling, and then rode rapidly onward. 

Behold I from the chapel wall, high up on a scafibld- 



834 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

ing of boughs, his robes gailiered about him, his head 
uncovered and hammer in hand, F^re Amabilis leaned 
forth to welcome us. The hammer fell to the eartL 
F^re Amabilis loosened his skirts and clasped his hands 
in unaflPected rapture. We were three satisfied souls, 
asking for nothing beyond the hem of that lonely valley 
in the Facific. 

Of course there was the smallest possible house that 
could be lived in, for our sole accommodation, because 
but one priest needed to visit the district at a time, and 
a very young priest at that. A tiny bed in one corner 
of the room was thought suffideni^ together with two 
plates, two cups, and a single spoon. Luxuries were 
unknown and unregretted. 

" Well, fiither, what have you at this hotel ?" said P^re 
Fidelis, as we came to the door of the cubby-house. 

"Water," repKed our host with a grave tone that had 
an undercurrent of truth in it. 

But we were better provided for. Within an hour's 
time a reception took place : the native parishioners 
came forth to welcome Ffere Fidelis and the stranger, 
each bringing some voluntary tribute, — a fish, a fowl 
lean enough to quiet the conscience of Fere Fidelis, an 
egg or two, or a bunch of tare. 

Long talks followed ; the news of the last month was 
discussed with much enthusiasm, and some few who had 
no opportunity of joining in the debate gave expression 
to their sentiments through such speaking eyes as 
savages usually are possessed of. 

The welcome supper -hour approached. Willing 
hands dressed a fowl ; swift feet plied between the 
spring and the kettle swung over the open camp-fire ^ 



. THE CHAPEL OF THE PALMS, 22$ 

children danced for very joy before the door of the 
chapel, nnder the statue of the Virgin, whose head was 
adorned with a garland of living flowers. The shadows 
deepened ; stars seemed to cluster over the valley 
and glow with unusual fervour ; the crickets sang 
mightily, — ^they are always singing mightily over 
yonder ; supper came to the bare table wiih its meagre 
array of dishes ; and, since I was forced to have a 
whole plate and a bowl, as well as the solitary spoon, 
for my whole use, the two young priests ate together 
from the same dish and drank from the same cup, and 
were as grateful and happy as the birds of the air under 
similar circumstances. 

A merry meal, that I For us no weak tea, that satiri- 
cal consoler, nor tea whose strength is bitterness, an 
abomination to the faithful, but man pbre^s own coflFee, 
the very aroma of which was invigorating ; then our 
friendly pipes out under the starlight, where we sat 
diatting amicably, with our three heads turbaned in an 
aromatic Virginian cloud. 

I learned something of the life of these two friends 
during that social evening. Bom in the same city in 
the north of France, reared in the same schools, gradu- 
ated at the same university, each fond of life and 
acquainted with its follies, each in turn stricken with an 
illness that threatened death, together they came out of 
the dark valley with their future consecrated to the 
work that now absorbs them, the friendship of their 
childhood increasing with their years and sustaining 
them in a remote land, where their vow of poverty 
seems almost like sarcasm, since circumstances deprives 
them of all luxuries. 

16 



2t6 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

^^ Do you never long for home ? do yon never regret 
your vow ? " I asked. 

" Never I " iihey answered ; and I believed ihem. 
" These old people are as parents to us ; these younger 
ones are as brothers and sisters ; these children we love 
as dearly as though they were our own. What more 
can we ask ? " 

What more indeed I With the rain beating down 
upon your unsheltered heads, and the torrents threaten- 
ing to engulf you; feint with joumeyings ; a-hungered 
often ; weak with fastings ; palUd with prayer, — ^what 
more can you ask in the same line ? say I. 

Pere Fidelis coughed a little, and was somewhat 
feverish. I could see that his life was not elastic ; his 
strength was even then failing him. 

" Pfere Amabilis is an artisan : he built this house, 
and it is small enough ; but some day he will build a 
house for me but six feet long and so broad," said Pfere 
Fidelis, shrugging his shoulders ; whereat Pfere Ama- 
bilis, who looked like a German student with his long 
hair and spectacles, turned aside to wipe the moisture 
from the lenses, and said nothing, but laid his hand 
significantly upon the shoulder of his friend, as if im- 
ploring silence. Alas for him when those Ups are silent 
for ever I 

I wondered if they had no recreation. 

" yes. The poor pictures at the Chapel of the 
Palms are ours, but we have not studied art. And 
then we are sometimes summoned to the farther side of 
the island, where we meet new feces. It is a great 
change." 

For a year before the arrival of Pfere Amabilis, who 



THE CHAPEL OP THE PALMS, 227 

• 

was not sooner able to follow his friend, PAre Fidelis 
was accustomed to go once a month to a confessional 
many miles away. That his absence might be as brief 
as possible, he was obliged to travel night and day. 
Sometimes he would reach the house of his confessor at 
midnight, when aU were sleeping : thereupon would 
follow ihis singular colloquy in true native fashion. A 
rap at the door at midnight, the confessor waking from 
his sleep. 

C<mfe8S(yr. « Who's there ? " 

Phre Fidelia. "It is 1 1" 

Conf. "Who is I?" 

PireF. "Fidelis I '* 

Conf. "Fidelis who?'* 

Pkre F. " Fidelis kahuna pule I" (FideUs the priest.) 

Conf. " Aweh 1 " (An expression of the greatest 
surprise.) " Entre, Fidelis kahuna pule.'' 

Then he would rise, and the communion that followed 
must have been most cheering to both, for mon pkre 
even now is merry when he recalls it. 

These pilgrimages are at an end, for the two priests 
confess to one another : conceive of the fellowship that 
hides away no secret, however mortifying ! 

The whole population must have been long asleep 
before we thought of retiring that night, and then arose 
an argument concerning the fittest occupant of the 
solitary bed. It fell to me, for both were against me, 
and each was my superior. When I protested, they 
held up their fingers and said, "Eemember, we are your 
fathers and must be obeyed." Thus I was driven to 
the bed, while mine hosts lay on the bare floor ivith 
saddles for pillows. 



228 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

It was this self-sacrificing hospitality that hastened 
my departure. I felt earth could oflFer me no nobler 
fellowship, — ^that all acts to come, however gracious, 
would bear a tinge of selfishness in comparison with the 
reception I had met where least expected. 

I am thankful that I had not the heart to sleep well, 
for I think I could never have forgiven myself* had I 
done so. When I woke in the early part of the night, 
I saw the young priests bowed over their breviaries, for 
I had delayed the accustomed ofiSces of devotion, and 
they were fiilfilling them in peace at last, having me so 
weU bestowed that it was utterly impossible to do aught 
else for my entertainment. 

Once more the morning came. I woke to find Pfere 
Amabilis at work, hanmier in hand, sending his nails 
home with accurate strokes that spoke well for his 
trained muscle. Pdre Fidelis was concocting coffee and 
directing the volunteer cooks, who were seeking to sur- 
pass themselves upon this last meal we were to take 
together. In an hour mon phre was to start for the 
Chapel of the Palms, while 1 wended my way onward 
through a new country, bearing with me the consoling 
memory of my precious friends. I can forgive a slight 
and forget the person who sKghts me, but little kind- 
nesses probe me to the quick. I wonder why the twin 
fathers were so very careful of me that morning? They 
could not do enough to satisfy themselves, and that 
made me miserable ; they stabbed me with tender 
words, and tried to be cheerful with such evident effort 
that I couldn't eat half my breakfast, though, as it 
was, I ate more than they did — God forgive me I — ^and 
altogether it was a solemn and memorable meaL 



THE CHAPEL OF THE PALMS, 229 

A group of natives gathered about us seated upon 
the floor ; it was impossible for Pfere Fidelis to move 
without being stroked by the affectionate creatures who 
deplored his departure. Pfere Amabilis insisted upon 
adjusting our saddles, during which ceremony he slyly 
hid a morsel of cold fowl in our saddle-bags. 

That parting was as cruel as death. We shall pro- 
bably never see one another again ; if we do, we shall 
be older and more practical and more worldly, and the 
exquisite confidence we have in one another will have 
grown blunt with time. I felt it then as I know it now 
— our brief idyl can never be lived over in this life. 

Well, we departed : the corners of our blessed tri- 
angle were spread frightfully. Pfere Fidelis was paler 
than ever ; he caught his breath as though there wasn't 
much of it, and the little there was wouldn't last long ; 
Pfere Amabilis wiped his spectacles and looked utterly 
forsaken ; the natives stood about in awkward, silent 
groups, coming forward, one by one, to shake hands, 
and then falling back like so many automatons. Some- 
how, genuine grief is never graceful : it forgets to pose 
itself ; its muscles are perfectly slack and unreliable. 

The sea looked grey and forbidding as it shook its 
shaggy breakers under the cliff: life was dismal enough. 
The animals were unusually wayward, and once or 
twice I paused in despair under the prickly sunshine, 
half inclined to go back and begin over again, hoping 
to renew the past ; but just then Hok6 felt like stagger- 
ing onward, and I began to realize that there are some 
brief, perfect experiences in life that pass from us like a 
dream, and this was one of them. 

In the proem to this idyl I seem to see two shadowy 



230 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

figures passing up and down over a lonesome land. 
Fever and fiunine do not stay them ; the elements alone 
have power to check their pilgrimage. Their advent is 
hailed with joyfdl bells : tears fall when they depart. 
Their paths are peace. Fearlessly they battle with con- 
tagion, and are at hand to dose the pestilential lips of 
andean death. They have lifted my soul above things 
earthly^ and held it secure for a moment. From beyond 
the waters my heart returns to them. Again at twi- 
light^ over the still sea, floats the sweet Angelus ; again 
I approach the chapel falling to slow decay : there are 
iresh mounds in the churchyard, and the voice of avail- 
ing is heard for a passing soul. By-and-by, if there is 
work to do, it shall be done, and the hands shall be 
folded, for the young apostles will have followed in the 
silent footsteps of their flock. Here endeth the lesson 
of the Chapel of the Palms. 




KAHELB. 

ROM a bluff, whose bald forehead jutted a 
thousand feet into the air, and under whose 
chin the sea shrugged its great shoulders, 
Kahele, my boy, — that dehghtfiil contra- 
diction, who was always plausible, yet never right, — 
Kahele and I looked timidly over into the sunset valley 
of M^ia. The "Valley of Solitude" it was caUed ; 
albeit, at that moment, and with half an eye, we counted 
the thirty grass-lodges of the village, and heard the 
liquid tongues of a trio of waterfalls, that dived head- 
first into the groves at the farther end of the valley, 
where the mountain seemed to have opened its heart 
wide enough to let a rivulet escape into the sea. But 
the spot was a palpable and living dream, and no fond 
rividet would go too hastily through it ; so there was a 
glittering sort of monogram writ in water, and about it 
the village lodges were clustered in a very pleasing dis- 
order. 

The trail dropped down the cliff below us in long, 
swinging zigzags, and wound lazily through the village ; 
crossed the stream at the ford ; dipped off toward the 
8ea, as though the beach, shining like coarse gold, were 



233 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

a trifle too lovely to be passed without recognition, and 
then it climbed laboriously up the opposite cliff; and 
struck off into space. In ten seconds a bird might have 
s{)anned the deep ravine, and caught as much of its 
loveliness as we ; but we weren't birds, and, moreover, 
we had six legs apiece to look after, so we tipped off 
from the dizzy ridge that overhung the valley of M^ha 
to the north, and gradually descended into the heat and 
silence of the place, that seemed to make a picture of 
itself when we first looked down upon it from our eyrie. 

Wo ibund the floor of the valley very solemn and 
very lovely, when we reached it. Hiree youngsters, as 
brown as berries, and without any leaves upon them, 
broke loose from a banana-orchard and leaped into a low 
7iOu-tree as we approached. They were a little shy of 
my colour, pale-faces being rare in that vicinity. Two 
women who were washing at the ford — ^and washing the 
very garments they should have had upon their backs — 
discovered us, and plunged into the stream with a re- 
freshing splash, and a laugh apiece that was worth hear- 
ing, it was so genuine and hearty. Another yoimgster 
hurried off from a stone wall like a startled lizard, and 
struck on his head, but didn't cry much, for he was too 
frightened. A large woman lay at full length on a 
broad mat, spread under a pandanus, and slept like a 
turtle. I began to think there were nothing but women 
and children in the solitary valley, but Kah^le had kept 
an eye on the reef, and, with an air of superior intelli- 
gence, he assured me that there were many men living 
about there, and they, with most of the women and 
children, were then out in the surf, fishing. 

^' To the beach, by all means ! " cried I \ and to the 



KAHELE. 233 

beach we hastened, where, indeed, we found heaps of 
cast-oflF raiment, and a hundred footprints in the sand. 
What would Mr. Robinson Crusoe have said to that, I 
wonder 1 Across the level water, heads, hands, and 
shoulders, and sometimes half-bodies, were floating 
about, like the amphibia. We were at once greeted with 
a shout of welcome, which came faintly to us above the 
roar of the surf, as it broke heavily on the reef, a half- 
mile out from shore. It was drawing toward the hour 
when the fishers came to land ; and we had not long to 
wait, before, one after another, they came out of the sea 
like so many mermen and mermaids. They were re- 
freshmgly innocent of etiquette, — ^at least, of our trans- 
lation of it ; and, with a freedom that was amusing as 
well as a Uttle embarrassing, I was deUberately fingered, 
fondled, and fussed with by nearly every dusky soul in 
turn. " At last," thought I, " fate has led me beyond 
the pale of civilization ; for this begins to look hke the 
genuine article." 

With uncommon slowness, the mermaids donned more 
or less of their apparel, a few preferring to carry their 
robes over their arms ; for the air was delicious, and 
ropes of seaweed are accounted fiill dress in that de- 
lectable latitude. Down on the sand the mermen heaped 
their scaly spoils, — fish of all shapes and sizes, fish of 
every colour ; some of them throwing somersaults in 
the sand, like young atliletes ; some of them making 
wry faces, in their last agony ; some of them lying still 
and clammy, with big, round eyes like smoked-pearl 
vest-buttons set in the middle of their cheeks ; all of 
ihem smelling fishlike, and none of them looking very 
tempting. SmaD boys laid hold on small fry, bit their 



234 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

beads off, and held the silyer-coated morsels between 
their teeth, like animated sticks of candy. There was a 
Fridajish and Lent-like atmosphere hovering over the 
spot, and I tamed away to watch some youths who were 
riding surf-boards not far distant, — ^agile, narrow-hipped 
youths, with tremendous biceps and proud, impudent 
heads set on broad shoulders, like young gods. These 
were the flower and chivalry of the M^ha blood, and 
they swam like young porpoises, every one of them. 

There was a break in the reef before us ; the sea knew 
it, and seemed to take special delight in rushing upon 
the shore as though it were about to devour sand, 
savages, and everything. Kah^le and I watched the surf- 
swimmers for some time, charmed with the spectacle. 
Such buoyancy of material matter I had never dreamed 
of. Kah^le, though much in the flesh, could not long 
resist the temptation to exhibit his prowess, and having 
been offered a surf-board that would have made a good 
Ud to his coffin, and was itself as light as cork and as 
smooth as glass, suddenly threw off his last claim to re- 
spectability, seized his sea-sled, and dived with it under 
the first roller which was then about to break above his 
head, not three feet from him. Beyond it, a second 
roller reared its awful front, but he swam under that 
with ease ; at the sound of his " open sesame," its 
emerald gates parted and closed after him. He seemed 
some triton, playing with the elements, and dreadfully 
"at home" in that very wet pkce. The third and 
mightiest of the waves was gathering its strength for a 
charge upon the shore. Having reached its outer 
ripple, again Kahfle dived and reappeared on the other 
side of the watery hill, balanced for a moment in the 



KAHELE. * 235 

glassy hollow, turned suddenly, and, mounting the tower- 
ing monster, he lay at full length on his fragile raft, 
using his arms as a bird its pinions, — ^in fact, soaring for 
a moment with the wave under him. As it rose he 
climbed to the top of it, and there, in the midst of foam 
seething like champagne, on the crest of a rushing sea- 
avalanche about to crumble and dissolve beneath him^ 
his surf-board hidden in spume, on the very top bubble 
of all, Kah^le danced Uke a shadow. He leaped to his 
feet and swam in the air, another Mercury, tiptoeing a 
heaven-kissing hill, buoyant as vapour, and with a sug- 
gestion of invisible wings about him, — Kah^le trans- 
formed for a moment, and for a moment only ; the next 
second my daring sea-skater leaped ashore, with a howl- 
ing breaker swashing at his heels. It was something 
glorious and almost incredible ; but I saw it with my 
own eyes, and I wanted to double his salary on the spot. 
Sunset in the valley of M6ha. The air fidl of floating 
particles, that twinkled like diamond-dust ; the great 
green chasm at the head of the valley illuminated by 
one broad bar of light shot obliquely tiirough it, tipped 
at the end with a shower of white rockets that fringed 
a waterfall, and a fragment of rainbow like a torn 
banner. That deep, shadowy ravine seemed, for a mo- 
ment, some mystery about to be divulged ; but the light 
faded too soon, and I never learned the truth of it. ^e 
sea quieter than usual ; very Uttle soimd save the ryth- 
mical vibration of the air, that suggested flowing waters 
and quivering leaves ; the Kghts shifted along the upper 
cliffs ; a silver-white tropic-bird sailed from cloud to 
doud, swiftly and noiselessly, Kke a shooting-star. A 
delicious moment, but a brief one ; soon the sun was 



S36 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

down, and the deepening shadows and gathering cool- 
ness set all the valley astir. 

Camp-fires were kindled throughout the village; 
column after column of thin blue smoke ascended in 
waving spirals, separating at the top in leaf-shaped 
clouds. It was like the spiritual resurrection of some 
ancient palm-grove ; and when the moon rose, a little 
later, flooding the Vale of SoUtude with her vague light, 
the illusion was perfected; and a group of savages, 
scenting the savoury progress of their supper, sat, 
hungry and talkative, under every ghostly palm. Clear 
voices ascended in monotonous and weird recitative ; 
they chanted a monody on the death of some loved one, 
prompted, perhaps, by the fimereal solemnity of the 
hour ; or sang an ode to the moon-rise, the still-flowing 
river or the valley of M^ha, so solitary in one sense, 
though by no means alone in its loneliness. 

Kahdle patronized me extensively. I was introduced 
to camp after camp, and in rapid succession repeated the 
experiences of a traveller who has much to answer for 
in the way of colour, and the peculiar cut of his gar- 
ments. I felt as though I was some natural curiosity, 
in charge of the robustious Kahfele, who waxed more 
and more officious every hour of his engagement ; and 
his tongue ran riot as he descanted upon my character- 
istics to the joy of the curious audiences we attracted. 

Some hours must have passed before we thought of 
sleep. How could we think of it, when every soul was 
wide awake, and time alone seemed to pass us by un- 
consciously? But Kah^le finally led me to a chiefs 
house where, under coverlets of hvpa^ spiced with 
herbs and in the midst of numerous members of the 



KAHELE. 237 

household, I was advised to compose my soul in peace, 
and patiently await daylight. I did so, for the drowsy 
sense that best illustrates the tail-end of a day's journey 
possessed me, and I was finally overcome by the low, 
monotonous drone of a language that I found about as 
intelligible as the cooing of the multitudinous pigeon. 
The boy sat near me, still descanting upon our late 
experiences, our possible future, and the thousand trivial 
occurrences that make the recollections of travel for 
ever charming. The familiar pipe, smoked at about the 
rate of three whiffs apiece, circulated freely, and kept 
the air mildly flavoured with tobacco; and night, with all 
that pertains to it, bowed over me, as, in an unguarded 
moment, I surrendered to its narcotizing touch. 

There was another valley in my sleep, like unto the one 
I had closed my eyes upon, and I saw it thronged with 
ancients. No white face had yet filled those savage 
and sensuous hearts with a sense of disgust, which, 
I believe, all dark races feel when they first behold a 
bleached skin. Again the breathless heralds announced 
the approach of a king, and the multitudes gathered to 
receive him. 1 heard the beating of the tom-toms, and 
saw the dancers ambling and posing before his august 
majesty, who reclined in the midst of a retinue of obse- 
quious retainers. The spearsmen hurled their spears, 
and the strong men swung their clubs ; the stone- 
ihrowers threw skilfully, and the sweetest singers sang 
long mileB m praise of their royal guest. A cry of fear 
rent the air as a stricken one fled toward the city of 
refuge ; the priests passed by me in solemn procession, 
their robes spotted with sacrificial blood. War canoes 
drew in from the sea^ and death fell upon the valley. I 



23$ SUMMER CRUISING m THE SOUTH SEAS. 

heard the wail for the slanghteredy and saw the grim 
idols borne forth in the arms of the triumphant ; then I 
awoke in the midst of that dream-pageant of savage and 
barbaric splendonr. 

It was still night ; the sea was again moaning ; the 
cool air of the moontain rustled in the long thatch at the 
doorway ; a ripe bread-frnit fell to the earth with a load 
thud. I rose from my mat and looked about me. The 
room was nearly deserted ; some one lay swathed like a 
mummy in a dark corner of the lodge^ but of what sex 
I knew not, — ^probably one who had outliyed all sensa- 
tions, and perhaps all desires; a rush, strung full of 
oily kukui nuts, flamed in the centre of the room, and a 
thread of black smoke climbed almost to the peak of the 
roof ; but, fEtlling in with a current of fresh air, it was 
spirited away in a moment. 

I looked out of the low door ; the hour was such a 
one as tinges the stoutest heart with superstition ; the 
landscape was complete in two colours, — a moist, trans- 
parent grey, and a thin, feathery silver, that seemed 
almost palpable to the touch. Out on the slopes near 
the stream reclined groups of natives, chatting, singing, 
smoking, or silently regarding the moon. I pass^ 
them unnoticed ; dim paths led me through guava 
jungles, under orange groves, and beside clusters of jas- 
mine, overpowering in their fragrance. Against the low 
eaves of the several lodges sat singers, players upon the 
rude instruments of the land, and glib talkers, who 
waxed eloquent, and gesticulated with exceeding grace. 
Footsteps rustled before and behind me ; I stole into the 
thicket, and saw lovers wandering together, locked in 
each other^s embrace, and saw friends go hand-in-hand 



KAHELE, a39 

conversing in low tones, or perhaps mute, with an im- 
pressive air of the most complete tranquillity. The 
night-blooming cereus laid its ivory urn open to the 
moonlight, and a myriad of crickets chirped in one 
continuous jubilee. Voices of merriment were wafted 
down to me ; and, stealing onward toward the great 
meadow by the stream, where the sleepless inhabitants 
of the valley held high carnival, I saw the most digni- 
fied chiefs of M^ha sporting Uke children, while the 
children capered like imps, and the whole comimunity 
seemed bewitched with the glorious atmosphere of that 
particular night. 

Who was the gayest of the gay, and the most lawless 
of the unlawful ? My boy, Kah^le, in whom I had 
placed my trust, and whom, until this hour at least, I 
had regarded as the most promising specimen of the re- 
organized barbarians. 

Perhaps it was all right; perhaps I had been counting 
his steps with too much confidence ; they might have 
been simply a creditable performance, the result of care- 
ful training on the part of his tutors. I am inclined to 
think they were ! At any rate, Kahele went clean back 
to barbarism that night, and seemed to take to it amaz- 
ingly. I said nothing ; I thought it wiser to seem to 
hold the reins, though I hold them loosely, than to try 
to check the career of my half-tamed domestic, and to 
find him beyond my control; therefore I sat on one side 
taking notes, and foimd it rather jolly on the whole. 

The river looked like an inky flood with a broken 
silver crust ; canoes floated upon its sluggish tide like 
long feathers; swimmers plied up and down it, now and 
then " blowing," whale-fashion, but slipping through the 



240 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

water as noiselessly as trout. I conld scarcely tell 
which was the more attractive, — Nature, so fragrant 
and so voluptuous, or man, who had become a part of 
Nature for the hour, and was very unlike man as I had 
been taught to accept him. 

Not till dawn did the dance or the song cease ; not 
till everybody was grey and fagged, and tongues had 
stopped wagging from sheer exhaustion. I returned to 
my mats long ere that, to revolve in my mind plans for 
the following day. 

It was evident that KahSe must at once quit the 
place, or go back to barbarism and stick there. I didn't 
care to take the responsibility of his return to first prin- 
ciples, and so ordered the animals to be saddled by sun- 
rise. At that delicious moment the youngster lay like 
one of the Seven Sleepers, whom nothing could awaken. 
Everybody in the village seemed to be making up his 
lost sleep, and I was forced to await the return of life 
before pressing my claims any further. 

The scorching noon drew on ; a few of the sleepers 
awoke, bathed, ate of their cold repast, and slept again. 
Kah^le followed suit ; in the midst of his refreshment 
I suggested the advisability of instant departure ; he 
hesitated. I enlarged upon the topic, and drew an en- 
ticing picture of the home-stretch, with all the endearing 
associations clustering about its farther end ; he agreed 
to everything with a sweet and passive grace that 
seemed to compensate me for the vexations of the 
morning. 

I went to the river to bathe while the beasts were 
being saddled, and returned anon to find Kah^le sound 
asleep, and as persistent in his slumbers as ever. The 



KAHELE. 241 

afternoon waned; I began to see the fitness of the name 
that had at first seemed to me inappropriate to the val- 
ley; everybody slept or lazed during the hot hours of 
the day, and a census-taker might easily have imagined 
the place a solitude. At sunset, there was more fishing 
and more surf-swimming. It seemed to me the fish 
smelt stronger, and the swimmers swam less skilfully 
than on the evening previous ; possibly it was quite as 
pretty a spectacle as the one that first charmed me, but 
blessings are bores when they come out of season. 

Night drew on apace ; the moon rose, and the in- 
habitants pretended to rest, but were shortly magnetized 
out of their houses, where they danced till daybreak. 
The sweets of that sort of thing began to cloy, and I 
resolved upon immediate action. Kah^le was taken by 
the ears at the very next sunrise, and ordered to get up 
ihe mules at once. He was gone nearly all day, and 
came in at last with a pitiful air of disappointment that 
quite unmanned me ; his voice, too, was sympathetic, 
and there was something like a tear in his eye when he 
assured me that the creatures had gone astray, but 
might be found shortly, — ^perhaps even then they were 
approaching ; and the young scamp rose to reconnoitre, 
glad, no doubt, of an excuse for escaping from my 
natural but ludicrous discomfiture. It is likely that my 
boy Kah^le would have danced till doomsday, had I not 
shown spleen. It is as likely, also, that the chief and 
all his people would have helped him out in it, had I not 
offered such reward as I thought suflScient to tempt 
greed ; but, thank heaven, there is an end to every- 
thing! 

On the morning of the fourth day, two travellers 

16 



24t SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

might have been seen struggling np the face of the 
great cliff that walls in the valley of M^ha to the south. 
The one a pale-lace^ paler than usual^ ^^^guig on the 
other^ a dark-face, darker than was its wont. Never 
did animals so puzzle Iheir wits to know whether they 
were indeed desired to hasten forward, or to turn back 
at the very next crook in the traiL We were at big 
odds, Eah^le and I ; for another idol of mine had sud-^ 
denly turned to clay, and, though I am used to that 
sort of thing, I am never able to bear it with decent com- 
posure. On we journeyed, working at cross purposes, 
and getting nearer to the sky all the while, and finally 
losing sight of the bewitching valley that had demoral-* 
ized and so nearly divorced us ; getting wet in the 
damp grasses on the highlands, and sometimes losing 
ourselves for a moment in the clouds that lie late on the 
mountains ; seeing lovely, narrow, and profound vales, 
wherein the rain fell wiih a roar like hail ; where the 
streams swelled suddenly like veins, and where often 
there was no visible creature discernible, not even a 
bird ; where silence brooded, and the world seemed 
empiy, 

A very long day*s journey brought us out of the 
green and fertile land that lies with its face to the trade- 
wind ; there the clouds gather and shed their rains ; but 
all of the earth lying in the lee of the great central peak 
of the island is as dust and ashes, — ^unwatered, unfruit- 
ful, and uninteresting, save as a picture of deep and 
dreadiiil desolation. No wonder that Kah^le longed to 
tarry in the small Eden of M^ha, knowing that we 
were about to journey into the deserts that lie beyond 
it. No wonder that the shining shores of the valley be- 



JCAHELE. 243 

giiiled him, when he knew that henceforth the sea would 
break upon long reaches of black lava, as unpicturesque 
as a coal-heap, the path along which was pain, and 
the waysides anguish of spirit ; where fruit was scarce, 
and water brackish, and every edible dried and deceitfdl. 

Having slept the sleep of the just, — for I felt that I 
had done what I could to reclaim my backsliding 
Kah^le, — I awoke on a Sabbath morning that pre- 
sented a singular spectacle. Its chief features were a 
glittering, metallic-tinted sea, and a smoking plain 
backed by naked sand-hills. The low brush, scattered 
thinly over the earth, tried hard to look green, but 
seldom got nearer to it than a dusty grey. Evidently 
there was no sap in those charred twigs, for they snapped 
like coral when you tested their pliancy. A few huts, 
dust-coloured and ragged, were scattered along the 
trail ; they had apparently lost all hope, and paused by 
the wayside, to end their days in despair. 

The hali-^uUy or prayer-house, chief of the forlorn 
huts, by virtue of extraordinary hollowness and a 
ventilation that was only exceeded by all out-of-doors, — 
this prayer-house, or church, was thrown open to the 
public ; and, to my amazement, Kahele suggested the 
propriety of our attending worship, even before the 
first conch had been blown from the rude door by the 
deacon himself. 

We went along the chalky path that led to the front 
of the house, and sat in the shelter of the eaves for an 
hour or more. Seven times that conch was blown, and 
on each occasion the neighbourhood responded, though 
stingily ; a few worshippers would issue out of the wilder- 
ness and draw slowly toward us. One or two men came 



344 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

on horseback, and were happy in their mood, exhibiting 
the qualities of their animals on the flats before us. 
Some came on foot, with their shoes in hand ; the shoes 
were carefollj put on at the church door, but put off 
again a few moments after entering the rustic pews. 
Dogs came, about one for ever human ; these lay all 
over the floor, or mounted the seats, or were held in 
the arms of the congregation, as the case might be. 
Children came, and played a savage version of leap-frog 
in the lee of the church, but they were bleak-looking 
youngsters, not at all like the little human vegetables 
that flourished in the genial atmosphere of the valley of 
M^ha. 

The conch was blown again ; the most melancholy 
sound that ever issued from windy caviiy floated up and 
down that disconsolate land, and seemed to be saying, 
in pathetic gusts, ^' Come to meeting I Come to meet- 
ing 1 '* Probably every one that could come had come ; 
at any rate no one else followed, and, after a decent 
pause, the services of the morning were begun. The 
brief interval of ominous silence that preceded the 
opening was enlivened by the caprices of a fractious 
horse, and at least two stampedes of the canine per- 
suasion, at which time the dogs seemed possessed of 
devils, and were running down in a body towards the 
sea, but thought better of it, and stole noiselessly back 
again, one after the other, just in season for the opening 
prayer, to which they entered with a low-comedy cast 
of countenance, and a depressed taiL 

That prayer bubbled out of the savage throat like a 
clear fountain of vowels. The dignity of the man was 
impressive, and his face the picture of devotion ; bis 



KAHELE. 24S 

deportment, likewise, was all that could be desired in 
any one, under the circumstances. Either he was a 
rare specimen of the very desirable convert from baiv 
barism, or he was a consummate actor ; I dare not 
guess which of the two beguiled me with his grave and 
euphonious prayer. 

I regret to state that, during the energetic expound- 
ing of the Scriptures, a few of the congregation forgot 
themselves and slept audibly ; a few arose and went 
under the eaves to smoke ; children went down on all- 
fours, and crawled under the pews in chase of pups as 
restless and incorrigible as themselves. At a later 
period, some one announced an approaching schooner, 
and the body of the house was unceremoniously cleared, 
for a schooner was as rare a visitor to that part of the 
island as an angel to any quarter of the globe. Further 
ceremony was out of the question, at least until the ex- 
citement had subsided ; the parson, with philosophical 
composure, precipitated his doxology, and we all walked 
out into the drqary afternoon to watch the schooner 
blowing in toward shore. 

The wind was rising ; white clouds scudded over us ; 
transparent shadows slid under us ; the whole earth 
seemed unstable, and life scarcely worth the Hving. 
Along the dead shore leaped the sea, in a careless, dare- 
devil fashion ; hollow rocks spouted great mouthfuls of 
spray contemptuously into the air ; columns of red 
dust climbed into the sky, reeling to and fro as they 
passed over the bleak desert toward the sea on the 
opposite side of the island. These dust-chimneys were 
continually moving over the land so long as the wind 
prevailed, which was for the rest of that afternoon^ to 



246 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

my oertain knowledge. In fact, the gale increased 
every hour ; sheets of spray leaped over the rocky 
barriers of the shore, and matted the dry grass, that 
hissed like straw whenever a fresh gost struck it. 

One tattered cocoa-pahn, steadfast in its mission, 
though the Uving emblem of a forlorn hope, wrestled 
with the tempest that threw all its crisp and rattling 
leaves over its head like a pompon, and fretted it till its 
slender neck twisted as though it were being throttled. 
The thatched house seemed about to go to pieces, and 
every timber creaked in agony; yet we gathered in its 
lee, and awaited the slow approach of the schooner. 
Near shore she put about, and seemed upon the point 
of scudding oflF to sea again. For a moment our hearts 
were in our throats; we were in danger of missing the 
sensation of the season; new faces, new topics of con- 
versation, and, perhaps, something good to eat, sent 
thither by Providence, who seldom forgets His children 
in the waste places, though I wonder ihat He lets them 
lose themselves so often. 

Tlio schooner rocked on the big rollers for half an 
hour; a small boat put off from her, with some dark 
objects seated id it; out on the great rollers the little 
shallop rocked, sometimes hidden from view by an inter- 
vening wave, sometimes thrown partly out of the water 
as it balanced for a moment on the crest of a breaker, 
but gradually drawing in toward a bit of beach, where 
there was a possible chance of landing, in some shape 
or other. A few rods from shore, three dusky creatures 
deliberately plunged overboard and swam toward us. 
We laished in a body to welcome them, — ^two women 
old residents of the place, who came out of the sea 



KAHELE. 147 

wailing for joy at their safe return to a home no more 
inviting than the one whose promment features I have 
sought to reproduce. Down they sat, not three feet 
from the water, that bubbled and hissed along the coarse 
sand, and lifted up their voices in pitiful and impres- 
sive monotones, as they recoimted in a savagely poetic 
chant their various adventures since they last looked 
upon the beloved picture of desolation that lay about 
them. 

The third passenger — ^a youngster — came to land 
when he had got tired of swimming for the fun of it, 
and, once more upon his native heath, he seemed at a 
loss to know what to do next, but suffered himself to be 
vigorously embraced by nearly everybody in sight, after 
which he joined his companions with placid satisfaction, 
and capered about as naturally as though nothing un* 
usual had happened. 

Off into the windy sea sped the small schooner, bend* 
ing to the breeze as though it were a perpetual miracle 
that brought her right-side-up every once in a while. 
Back to the deserted prayer-house our straggling com- 
munity wended its way; everything that had been said 
before was said again, with some embellishments. It 
was beginning to grow tiresome. I longed to plunge 
into the desert that stretched around, seeking some pos- 
sible oasis where the £miting spirit might reassure itself 
that earth was beautiful and life a boon. 

Kah^le agreed with me that this sort of thing was 
growing tiresome. He knew of a good place not many 
miles away; we could go there and sleep. It presented 
a church and a good priest, and other inducements of an 
exceedingly proper and unexceptionable character. The 



248 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

prospecty thoagh nninvitiiig, was sufficient to revive me 
for the moment, and daring that moment we monnted, 
and were blown away on horseback. The wind howled 
in onr ears ; sand-doads peppered us heavily ; small 
pebbles and grit cat oar fitces ; heavier gasts than 
osoal changed earth, sea, and sky into temporary chaos. 
The day waned, so did our spirits, so did the life of oar 
poor beasts. In the distance, the church of Kah^e^s 
prophecy stood out like a small rock in a land than 
which no land I wot of can be wearier. The sun fell 
toward the sea; the wind subsided, though it was still 
lusty and disagreeable. 

We entered the church, having turned our disheart>- 
ened beasts into paddock, and found a meagre and late 
afternoon session, seated upon mats that covered the 
earthen floor. A priest strove to kindle a flame of 
religious enthusiasm in our unnatural hearts, but I fear 
he sought in vain. The truth was, we were tired to 
death; we needed wholesome soup, savoury meats, and 
steaming vegetables, to humanize us. I didn^t want to 
be a Christian on an empty stomach. The wind began 
to sigh, after its passion was somewhat spent; sand sifted 
over the matting with a low hiss; and the dull red 
curtains, that stretched across the lower half of the win- 
dows, flapped doleftilly. Overhead, the wasps had hung 
their mud-baskets, and the grey atmosphere of every- 
thing was depressing in the extreme. Service was soon 
over; the people departed across the windy moors, with 
much fluttering of gay garments. A horse stood at 
pasture, with his head down, his back to the wind, and 
his tail glued to his side, — ^a picture of sublime resigna- 
tion. A high mound, with a sandstone sepulchre built 



KAHELE. 249 

in the face of it, cut off half of the very red sunset, while 
a cactus-hedge, starred with pale pink blossoms, ran up 
a low hill, and made silhouette pictures against the 
sky. 

I turned to watch a large butterfly, blown over in the 
late gale, — stranded, as it were, at the church porch, 
and too far gone to set sail again; a white sea-bird 
wheeled over me in big circles, and screamed faintly; 
something fell in the church with a loud echo, — ^a prayer- 
book, probably; and then the priest came out, fastened 
the door of the deserted sanctuary, and the day's duties 
were done. We had nothing to do but follow him to 
his small frame dwelling, where the one little window to 
the west seemed to be set with four panes of burnished 
gold, and some homely household shrubs in his garden- 
plat shivered, and blossomed while they shivered, but 
looked like so many widows and orphans, the whole of 
them. 

At the hospitable board life began afresh. Another 
day, and we should again approach the borders of the 
earthly paradise that glorified the opposite side of the 
island. Kah^le's eyes sparkled; my heart leaped within 
me; I felt that there was a charm in living, after all; 
' and the moment was a critical one, for had the lad 
begged me to return with him to the beguilements of 
barbarism, I think it possible that I might have con- 
sented. But he didn't 1 He was the pink of propriety, 
and an honour to his progenitors. He said a brief grace 
before eating, prayed audibly before retiring, was patient 
to the pitch of stupidity, and amiable to the verge of 
idiocy. 

At last, I began to see through him. Another four^ 



250 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

and-twenty hours, and he would be restored to the arms 
of his guardians; the sweet lanes of Tjahaina would 
again blossom before him; and all that he thought to 
be excellent in life would know him as it had known 
him only a few weeks before. It was time that he had 
again begun to walk the straight path, and he knew ii 
He was Kah^le, the two-sided; Kah^le, the chameleon, 
whose character and disposition partook of the colour of 
his surroundings; who was pious to the tune of tiie 
church-bell, yet agile as any dancer of the lascivious 
hula at the thump of the tom-tom. He was a repre- 
sentative worthy of some consideration; a typical Ha- 
waiian whose versatility was only excelled by the plau- 
sibility with which he developed new phases of his 
kaleidoscopic character. He was very charming, and 
as diverting in one rdle as another. He was, moreover, 
worthy of much praise for his skill in playing each part 
so perfectiy that to this hour I am not sure which of his 
dispositions he excelled in, nor in which he was most at 
home. 

Kah^le, adieu I I might have upbraided thee for ihj 
inconstancy, had I not been accused of that same myself. 
I might have felt some modicum of contempt for thee, 
had thy skin been white; but under the cover of thy 
darkness sin hid her ugliness, and thy rich blood leaped 
to many generous actions that a white-livered sycophant 
might not aspire to. I can but forgive all, and some- 
times long a little to live over the two sides of you, — ex- 
tremes that met in your precious corporosity, and made 
me contented with a changeful and sometimes cheerless 
pilgrimage; for I knew, boy, that if I went astray you 
would meet me upon the highest moral grounds; and, 



KAHELE. 251 

though I oould not rely upon you, somehow you came 
to time when least expected, and filled me with admira- 
tion and surprise, — ^a sentiment which time and absence 
only threaten to perpetuato. 




LOVE-LIFB IN A LANAL 

T was the witching hour of sunset^ and we 
sat at dinner with tearftd eyes over the 
Commodore's curry. You see the Com- 
modore prided himself on the strength of 
this identical dish, and kept a mahogany-tinted East- 
Indian steward for the sole sake of his skill in concoct- 
ing the same. 

We dined, as usual, in the Commodore's unrivalled 
Lanaiy — the very thought of which is a kind of spiritual 
feast to this hour, — and while we sat at his board we 
heard for the twentieth time the monotonous recital of 
his adventures by flood and field. Like most sea- 
stories, his narratives were ever fresh, as though they 
had been stowed away in brine, were fished out of the 
vasty deep expressly for the occasion, and put to soak 
again in their natural element as soon as we had tasted 
their quality. 

The Commodore was a roaring old sea-dog, who had 
been cast ashore somewhere in the early part of the 
century ; and finding himself in quarters more comfort- 
able than his wildest fancy dared to paint, he resolved 
to end his amphibious days on that strip of shining 
beach, and never more lose sight of land imtil he should 



LOVE-UFE IN A LAhAL 253 

slip his cable for the last time, and sail into undiscovered 
seas. Meanwhile, he entertained his friends at Wai-ki-ki, 
a kind of tropical Long Branch a few miles ont of Hono- 
lulu ; and the grace with which he introduced Jack- 
ashore to the dreamy twilight of his Lanai is one of 
Jack's deathless memories. We met the Conunodore 
in the interesting character of Jack-ashore, and with 
uncovered heads and hearts full of emotion entered the 
Lafuiu 

And now for a word to the uninitiated concerning the 

Lanai in question. Off there in the Pacific, under the 

vertical sun, all shadow is held at a premium. There 

are stationary caravans of cocoar-trees, that seem to be 

looking for their desert home, — ^weird, slender trees, 

with tattered plumes, and a hopeless air about them, as 

though they were bom to sorrow, but meant to make 

the best of it. Still, these fine old palms cast a thin 

shadow, about the size and shape of a colossal spider, 

and there is no comfort in trying to sit in it. There 

are likewise trees with more foliage, and vines that run 

riot and blossom themselves to death ; but somehow the 

sharp arrows of sunshine dart in and sting a fellow in 

an unpleasant fashion, and nothing short of a good 

thatch is to be reUed upon. So out from the low eaves 

of the Commodore's cottage, on the seaward side, there 

was a dense roof of leaves and grass, that ran clear to 

the edge of the sea, and looked as though it wanted to 

go farther ; but the Commodore knew it was useless to 

attempt to roof over that institution. There was a 

leafy tapestry hanging two feet below the roof on the 

three sides ihereof, and from the fioor of the inclosure 

rose a sort of trellis of woven rushes that hedged us in 



854 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

to the waist. There was a wicker gate, and an open 
space between the leafy stalactite and stalagmite barri- 
cade for ventilation and view, and everywhere there 
was a kind of semi-twilight that seamed crammed full 
of dreams and deHcions indolence, — and tibis is the 
Hawaiian Lanai! 

Of course the Commodore always dined in his Lanau 
It was like taking curry on the quarter-deck of the 
" Whatyoucallher," in itie dead calm of the Indian 
seas ; and when that mahogany steward entered with 
turban and mock-turtle, — ^he always looked to me like 
a full-blooded snake-charmer, — I had the greatest diffi- 
culty in restraining myself, for it seemed to me in- 
credible that any Jack-ashore could dine in a Lanai 
with his Excellency, and not rise between each savory 
course to make a dozen profound salaams to the fattish 
gentleman at the head of the table, who was literally 
covered with invisible naval buttons, and the hallucina- 
tion increased as the dinner-courses multiplied. 

At this stage, — -just as the snake-charmer was enter- 
ing with something that seemed to have come to an 
untimely end in wine-sauce, — at this stage the Commo- 
dore tiumed to us as though he were about to give 
some order that we might disregard at the peril of our 
lives, — ^these sea-dogs never quite outgrow that sort of 
thing. " Gentlemen," said he, casting a watchful and 
suspicious eye over the weather-bow, " there is to be a 
Luou — a native feast — ^in the adjoining premises. Will 
you do me the honour to accompany me thither after 
we have lighted our cigars ? " 

I forget what answer we made ; but then dinner was 
well on toward dessert, and our answer was immateriaL 



LOVE'LIFE IN LANAL ^Sl 

We had our orders, coached in courteous language, and 
we were thankful for this consideration ; moreover, we 
were wild to see a native feast! There is a peculiar 
charm in obeying our superiors, when we happen, by 
some dispensation of Divine Providence, to be exactly 
of the same mind. 

Black coffee was offered us, in cups of the pattern of 
gull's-eggs. By this time all the sky was saffiron, all 
the sea a shadow of saffiron ; and in the golden haze that 
lay between, a schooner with a piratical slant to her 
masts swam by, beyond the foam that hissed along the 
reef. It was a wonderful picture, but it came in be- 
tween the courses of the Commodore's dinner as though 
it were nothing better than a panel-painting in the 
after-cabin of the " Whaiyoucallher." However, as 
she swung in toward the mouth of the harbour, and 
passed a bottle of Burgundy in safety, but seemed in 
imminent danger of missing stays abreast of an enor- 
mous pyramid of fruit, — ^from the Commodore's point 
of sight, you know, — ^the old gentleman lost his temper, 
and gave an order in such peremptory terms that I 
cheerfully refrain from reproducing it on this occasion. 
To cover our confusion, we immediately adjourned to 
the native feast. 

Hawaiian feast days are not set do ^vn in the calendar. 
Somebody's child has a birthday, or there is a new 
house that needs christening ; or perhaps a church is ^ 
in want, and the feast can net a hundred or two dollars 
for it, — since all the eatables in such cases are donated, 
and the eaters enter to the feast with the payment of 
one dollar per head. Our feast was not sanctified ; a 
chief of the best blood was in the humour to entertain 



156 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS 

bis friends, countrymen, and lovers. We belonged to 
tbe first order; or, ratber, the Commodore was bis 
friend, and we speedily became as friendly as possible. 
As we entered tbe premises, it appeared to ns tbat balf 
tbe island was under cover ; for limitless Lanais seemed 
to run on to tbe end of time in bewitcbing vistas. 
Numberless lanterns swung soflJy in tbe evening gale. 
A multitude of wbite-robed native girls passed to and 
fro, witb that inimitable grace wbicb I bave always 
supposed Eve copied from tbe serpent and imparted 
to ber daugbters, wbo still afiect tbe modem Edens of 
tbe eartb. Young Hawaiian bloods, clad in snow-wbite 
trousers and ballet-sbirts, witb wreatbs of mailni around 
tbeir necks, and ginger-flowers in tbeir bair, grouped 
themselves along tbe evergreen corridors, and looked 
unutterable things witbout any noticeable effort on 
tbeir part. 

Tbrougb the central corridor, under a long line of 
lanterns, was spread tbe corporeal feast, and on either 
side of it, in two ravenous lines, sat, tailor-fashion, the 
bungry and tbe thirsty. It is useless to attempt an 
idealization of the Hawaiian eater. He simply devours 
whatever suits bis palate, as thougb be were a packing- 
case that needed filling, and the sooner filled the more 
creditable the performance. But tbe amount of filling 
that be is equal to is the marvel ; and the patient per- 
severance of the man, so long as tbere is a crumb left, 
is something that I despair of reconciling witb any 
known system of pbysiology. Tbe mastication began 
early in the afternoon. It was eigbt p.m. wben we 
looked in upon the orgie, and the bones were not all 
picked, tbougb they seemed likely to be before mid night. 



LOVE-LIFE IN A LANAL 257 

" Will you eat ? " said the host. It was not etiquette 
to decline, and we sat at the end of the Lanai^ with 
nameless dishes strewn about us in hopeless confusion. 
We dipped a finger into pink poi^ and took a pinch of 
baked dog. We had limpits with rock-salt ; kukui-nuts 
roasted and pulverized ; and the pale, quivering bits of 
fish-flesh, not an hour dead, and still cool with the 
native coolness of the sea. It was a fishful feast, any 
way ; and not even the fruits or the flowers could en- 
tirely alleviate the inward agony consequent upon a 
morsel of raw fish, swallowed to please our host. 

There was music at the farther end of the palm-leaf 
pavilion, and thither we wended our way. The inner 
court was festooned with flags, and covered with a large 
mat. Upon the mat sat, or reclined, several chiefesses. 
I am never able to account for the audacious grace of 
these women, who throw themselves upon the floor and 
stretch their supple limbs like tigresses, with a kind of 
imperial scorn for your one-horse proprieties. Their 
voluminous light garments scarcely concealed the ample 
curves of their bodies, and the marvellous creatures 
seemed to be breathing to slow music, while their slum- 
berous eyes regarded us with a gentle indiflerence that 
was more tantalizing than any other species of coquetry 
that I have knowledge of. 

At one side of the enclosure sat a group of musicians, 
twanging upon native harps, and beating the national 
calabash. Song after song was sung, pipe after pipe 
was smoked, and bits of easy and playild conversation 
filled the intervals. The evening waned. The eaters 
and drinkers were still unsatisfied, because the eatables 
and drinkables were not exhausted ; but the moon was 

17 



S58 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

bigb and fillip and the reef moaned most mosicallj^ and 
seemed to invite ns to the shore. 

Hie great charm of a native feast is the entire ab- 
sence of all formality. Every man is privileged to seek 
whom his heart may most desire^ and every woman 
may receive him or reject him as her spirit prompts. 
We noticed that the Commodore was uneasy. He was 
as plamp as a seal, and the crowd oppressed him. We 
resolved to get the old gentleman out of his misery, and 
proposed an immediate adjournment to the beach. The 
inner court was soon deserted, and our little party — 
which now embraced, figuratively, several magnificent 
chiefesses, as well as the primitive Hawaiian orchestra — 
moved in silence toward the sea. The long, curving 
beach glistened and sparkled in the moonlight. The 
sea, within the reef, was like a tideless river, from whose 
pellucid depths, where the coral spread its wilderness of 
branches, an unearthly radiance was reflected. A fleet 
of slender canoes floated to and fro upon the water, and 
beyond them the creaming reef flashed like a girdle of 
silver, belting us in from all the world. 

The crowning luxury of savage life is the multitudi- 
nous bondsman who anticipates your every wish, and 
makes you blush at your own poverty of invention by 
his suggestions of unimagined joys. Mats — Abroad, 
sweet, and dean — ^lay under foot, and served our pur- 
pose better than Persian carpets. The sea itself fawned 
at our feet, and all the air was shining and soft as 
though the moon had dissolved in an ecstasy, and no- 
thing but a snap of cold weather could congeal her 
again. Wherever we lay, pillows were mysteriously 
sUpped under our heads, and the willingest hands in tbus 



LOVE-LIFE IN A LANAL 259 

world began an involuntary performance of the lomin 
lomi. Let me not think upon the lomi-lomi, for there 
is none of it within reach ; but I may say of it that, 
before the skilful and magnetic hands of the manipu- 
lator are folded, every nerve in the body is seized with 
an intense little spasm of recognition, and dies happy. 
A dreamless sleep succeeds, and this is followed by an 
awakening into new life, full of proud possibilities. 

We were lomirlomied to the murmurs of the reef, and 
during the intervals of consciousness saw an impromptu 
rehearsal of the " Naiad Queen," in operatic form. The 
danciog-girls, being somewhat heated, had plunged into 
the sea, and were complaining to the moon in a chorus 
of fine harmonies. History does not record how long 
their sea-song rang across iiie waters. I know that we 
dozed, and woke to watch a silver sail wafbed along the 
vague and shadowy distance like a phantom. We slept 
again, and woke to a sense of silence broken only by 
the unceasing monody of the reef ; slept and woke yet 
again in the waning light, for the moon had sunk to the 
ragged rim of an old crater, and seemed to have a large 
piece bitten out of her glorious disc. Then we broke 
camp by the shore, — ^for the air was a trifle chilly, — and 
withdrew into the seclusion of the Commodore's Lanaiy 
where we threw ourselves into hammocks and swung 
until daybreak. 

In those days we fed on lotus-flowers. Jack-ashore 
lives for the hour only, and the very air of such a lati- 
tude breathes enchantment. I believe we bathed before 
sunrise, and then went regularly to bed and slept till 
noon. Such were the Commodore's orders, and this is 
our apology. There was a breakfast about one p.m., at 



j6o summer cruising IN THE SOUTH SEAS, 

which we were permitted to appear in undress. The 
Commodore set the example by inviting us to the table 
in an extraordinary suit of cream-coloured silk, that was 
suggestive of panjamasj but might have been some 
Oriental regalia especially designed for morning wear. 
He looked Uke a ship under full sail, rocking good- 
naturedly in a dead calm. The Commodore was exces- 
sively formal at first sight, — that is, just before breakfast, 
— ^but his heart warmed toward mankind in general, 
and his guests in particular, as the meal progressed. 
Some people never are themselves until they have 
broken their fast ; they are so cranky, and seem to 
lack ballast. 

The snaky steward sloughed his clothes twice a day. 
He was a slim, noiseless, gliding fellow at breakfast, 
but he was positively gorgeous at dinner. Of course, 
the Commodore had ordered this nice distinction in the 
temporal affairs of his servant, for he kept everything 
about the place in ship-shape, even to the flying of his 
private signal from sunrise to sunset at the top of a tall 
staff, that rivalled the royal ensign floating from a simi- 
lar altitude not a quarter of a mile distant. His Majesty 
has a summer palace in Wai-ki-ki, and it has been whis- 
pered that the Commodore refused to recognize him, 
and never dipped his colours as the King cantered by in 
a light buggy drawn by a pair of spanking bays. 

After breakfast, the cribbage-board was produced, 
and for three mortal hours the Commodore kept his peg 
on the steady march. At cribbage the old gentleman 
was expected to lose his temper. He stormed with the 
arrogance of a veteran card-player, than whom no man 
is supposed to make himself more disagreeable on short 



LOVE-LIFE IN A LANAL 261 

notice. Lieutenant Blank was usually the victim, but 
he deserved it. The true story of Lieutenant Blank — 
his name is suppressed out of consideration for his 
family — ^is so common in tropical seaports that I do not 
hope in this epitome to offer anything novel. The 
Lieutenant was a typical Jack-ashore. He had twice 
the mail that came to the rest of us, and he read his 
love-letters to the mess with a gusto. He boasted fresh 
victims in every port, and gloried in his lack of prin- 
ciple. It did not surprise me at all that the Lieutenant 
had shaken his mother. In fact, under the circum- 
stances, I think his mother would have been justified 
in shaking him, if she could have got her hands on him. 
In the love-light of the Commodore's Lanaij life was 
very precious to this particular Jack-ashore. To him 
a Lanai was a city of refuge, provided by an all-wise 
Commodore for those fascinating heutenants who were 
pursued by the chief women of the tribe ; yet he loved 
to loiter without the walls, during the off-hours from 
cribbage. No man so reUshed the ZomWomi; no man, 
except the native-bom, so clamoured for the huhrhula; 
and no man, not even the least of these, forgot himself 
to the same alarming extent whenever there was the 
shghtest provocation. 

Of course, he met a chiefess and surrendered ; of 
course, he meant in time to crush the heart that pul- 
sated with the blood-royal. He simpered and tried to 
turn semi-savage, and was simply ridiculous. He made 
silly speeches in the worst possible Hawaiian, and 
afforded unlimited amusement to the women, who are 
wiser in their dark skins than the children of hght. He 
tried to eat poi^ and ruined his linen. He suffered him- 



ate SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

self to be wreathed and garlanded, until he was the 
pictnre of a sacrificial calf. He gave gifts, and babbled 
in his sleep. Bat in the honr when his triumph seemed 
ineritable he was beantifiilly snubbed by his supposed 
victim. The syrens of Scylla are a match for any 
mariner who sails with unwadded ears. The Lieu* 
tenant cannot hope to hear the last of that adventure, 
though the subject is never broached by himself. 

If we had dwelt a thousand years with the Commo- 
dore, and sipped the elixir of life from the gourd that 
hung by tlw door of the wine-closet, I suppose we 
should have had the same daily and nightly experiences 
to go through with, barring a slight variation in the 
matter of moonshine. But there were orders superior 
to the Commodore's, since he was off active duty, and 
these orders demanded our reappearance on ship- 
board at an early hour of the day following. There 
was a farewell round of everything that had been intro- 
duced during our brief stay at Wai-ki-ki, — dances, 
songs, sea-baths, and flirtations. The moon rose later, 
and was but a shadow of her former self; but the stars 
burned brightly, and we could still trace the noiseless 
flight of the solitary sail that passed like a spirit over 
the dusky sea. 

I know that in after years, whenever I come within 
sound of surf under the prickly sunshine, my fancy 
will conjure up a picture of that grass cottage on the 
slope of a dazzling beach, and the portly form of the 
old Commodore stored snugly in the spacious hollow of 
a bamboo settee, drawn up on the stocks, as it were, for 
repaint, with a bandanna spread over his face, and a 
dark-eyed crouching figure beside him, fighting mosqui- 



tdVE'llPJS IN A LANAL ' 2^3 

toes with a tuft of parrot-feathers. No wonder that a 
body-guard of some kind was necessary, for I believe 
that the old Commodore's veins ran nothing but wine, 
and mosquitoes are good tasters. 

The picture would not be complete without the attend- 
ant houris, and witli their image comes an echo of bar- 
barous chants and the monotonous thump of the tom- 
tom ; of swaying figures; of supple wrists; of slender, 
lascivious hands tossed skilfully in the air, seeking to 
interpret their pantomimic dances, and doing it with 
remailiable freedom and grace. I shall hear that one 
song, like an echo eternally repeated, — ^the song that 
was sung by all the lips that had skill to sing, in every 
valley under the Hawaiian sun. I remember it as a 
refrain that was first raised in Honolulu, but for the 
copyright of which the respective residents of Hawaii 
and Nihau would willingly lay down their lives with the 
last words of the song rattling in their throats. 

" Polinanu^^ or " Cool-bosom," is a fair specimen of 
the ballad literature of Hawaii, and the following free 
translation will perhaps give a suggestion of the theme. 
" Polir-anu " is sung by the old and decrepid, the lame, 
the halt, and the blind, as well as by the merest children. 
I have heard it carolled by a solitary boy tending goats 
upon the breezy heights of Kaupo. I have listened to it 
in the market-place, where a chorus of a dozen voices 
held the customer entranced. In the high winds of the 
middle channel the song is raised, as the schooner lays 
over at a perilous angle, and ships water enough to 
dampen the ardour of most singers. It is sung in the 
church-porch, by the brackish well in the desert, under 
the moonlit palms, and everywhere else. It cheers ihe 



s64 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

midnight vigil of the prisoner, and makes glad the heart 
of the sorrowful. It is altogether useful as well as 
ornamental ; and the Hawaiian who does not number 
among his accomplishments the ability to .sing ^'^Poli- 
iXMA " tolerably well, is unworthy of the name. 

POLI-ANU. 

Bosom, here is love for you, 

bosom cool as night ! 

How you refresh me as with dew,— 
Your coolness gives delight. 

Bain is cold upon the hill. 

And water in the pool, 
Yet all my frame is colder still 

For you, O bosom cooL 

Face to face beneath a bough 

1 may not you embrace. 

But feel a spell on breast and brow 
While sitting face to face. 

Thoughts in absence send a thrill 

Like touch of sweeter air : 
I sought you, and I seek you still, 

bosom cool and fair ! 

That is all of it ; but your Hawaiian turns back and 
begins over again, until he has enough. 

I suppose it is no breach of confidence on my part to 
state that the gorgeous old Commodore is dead. There 
was nothing in his Lanai life to die of, except an acci- 
dent, and in course of time he met with one. I forget 
the nature of it, but it finished him. There was wailing 



LOl E'LIFE IN A LANAI. 265 

for ihree mortal days in the solemn shadow of the 
Lanai; and then one of the large, motherly-looking 
creatures, with numberless gauzy folds in a dress that 
fell straight from her broad shoulders, moved in. After 
three days of feasting, all vestiges of the Commodore*s 
atmosphere had disappeared from the premises. I fancy 
she always felt at home there, although she was never 
known to open her lips in the presence of the Commo- 
dore's guests. Life was a little more intense after that. 
The snaky steward disappeared, without any sort of 
warning. I have always beUeved that he crawled under 
some rock, and laid himself away in a coil ; that he will 
sleep for a century or so, then come out in his real 
character, and astonish the inhabitants with his length 
and his sUmness. 

Lieutenant Blank survives, and sails the stormy seas 
on a moderate salary, the major portion of which he 
turns into naval buttons. I hear from him once in a 
dog's age. He is first at Callao, with a daily jaunt into 
Lima ; and then at one of the South Sea paradises; 
next at Australia, or in the China Sea ; and in. the 
future — ^heaven knows where 1 He vibrates between 
the two hemispheres, working out his time, and believ- 
ing himself supremely happy. I doubt not that he is 
happy, being about as selfish as men are made. 

As for myself, I am a landsman. Afber all that is 
said, the sea is rather a bore, you know; but I do not 
forget the dreamy days of calm in the flowering equa- 
torial waters, nor the troubled days of storm. There 
are a thousand-and-one trifling events in the fragment- 
ary experiences of the seafarer that are of more import- 
ance than this stray leaf, but perhaps none that will 



M SVMMkk CkU/SI/^G Ihf THk soVrti SEA^, 

serve my purpose better. For this yam is as fine-drawn 
as ibe episodes in an out-of-the-way port, — ^with nothing 
but the fiunt odour of its fruits a little over-ripe, of its 
flowers a little over-blown, and a general sense of nn- 
oomfortable warmth, to give it individuality. I have 
found these experiences excellent memories ; for though 
the dull ^ waits '* between the acts and the sluggishness 
of the action at best are a little dreary at times, they 
are forgotten, together with most disagreeable matter, 
m warrant you. Lieutenant Blank, strutting his little 
hour between-decks, or in the fleeting moments of the 
delectaUe ^^ dog-watch,'' muses upon the past. When 
he has aroused the fever in his blood, and can no longer 
hold his tongue, he heaves an ominous sigh, knits his 
brows, and, in a voice that quivers with emotion, he 
whispers to the marines the beguiling romance of his 
^'Ove'life in a Lanau 




m A TRANSPORT. 

LITTLE French aspirant de marine, with 
an incipient moustache^ said to me, confi- 
dentially, " Where you see the French flag, 
you see France 1 " We were pacing to and 
fro on the deck of a transport that swung at anchor oflF 
San Francisco, and, as I looked shoreward for almost the 
Last time, — ^we were to sail at daybreak for a southern 
cruise, — I hugged my Ollendorf in despair as I dreamed 
of " French in six easy lessons," without a master, or a 
tolerable accent, or anything, save a suggestion of Babel 
and a confusion of tongues at sea. 

Thanaron, the aspirant in question, embraced me when 
I boarded the transport with my baggage, treated me 
like a long-lost brother all that afternoon, and again 
embraced me when I went ashore towards eveninor to 

o 

take leave of my household. There was something so 
impulsive and boyish in his manner that I immediately 
returned his salute, and with considerable fervour, feel- 
ing that kind Heaven had thrown me into the arms of 
the exceptional foreigner who would, to a certain extent, 
console me for the loss of my whole family. The mystery 
that hangs over the departure of any craft that goes by 
wind is calculated to appal the landsman; and when 
the date of sailing is fixed, the best thing he can do is to 



968 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

go aboard in season and compose his sonl in peace. To 
be sure, he may swing at anchor for a day or two^ in 
full sight of the domestic circle that he has shattered, 
but he is spared the repetition of those last agonies^ and 
cuts s£6rt the nnravelling hours just prior to a separa- 
tion, which are probably the most unsatisfactory in life. 

Under cover of darlmess a fellow can do almost any- 
thing, and I concluded to go on board. There was a 
late dinner and a parting toast at home, and those 
ominous silences in the midst of a conversation that was 
as spasmodic and disconnected and unnatural as possible. 
There was something on our minds, and we relapsed in 
turn and forgot ourselves in the fathomless abysses of 
speculation. Some one saw me off that night, — some 
one who will never again follow me to the sea, and 
welcome me on my return to earth after my wandering. 
We sauntered down the dark streets along the city 
front, and tried to disguise our motives^ but it was hard 
work. Presently we heard the slow swing of the tide 
under us, and the musiy odour of the docks regaled us ; 
one or two shadows seemed to be groping about in the 
nei^fhbourhood, making: more noise than a shadow has 
an^right to mkke. 

Then came the myriad-masted shipping, the twinkling 
lights in the harbour, and a sense of ceaseless motion in 
waters that never can be still. We did not tarry there 
long. The boat was bumping her bow against a pair 
of slippery stairs that led down to the water, and I 
entered the tottering thing that half simk under me, 
dropped into my seat in the stem, and tried to call out 
something or otiber as we shot away from the place, with 
a cloud over my eyes that was darker than night itself, 



IN A TRANSPORT. 269 

and a cloud over my heart that was as heavy as lead. 
After that there was nothing to do but to climb up one 
watery swell and slide down on the other side of it, to 
count the shadow-ships that shaped themselves out of 
chaos as we drew near them, and dissolved again when 
we had passed ; while the oars seemed to grunt in the 
rowlocks, and the two jolly tars in uniform — ^they might 
have been mutes, for all I know — swung to and fro, to 
and fro, dragging me over the water to my "ocean 
bride," — I think that is what they caU a ship, when the 
mood is on them I 

She did look pretty as we swam up under her. She 
looked like a great BiLltouette against the steel-grey sky ; 
but within was the sound of revelry, and I hastened on 
board to find our Utile cabin blue with smoke, which, 
however, was scarcely dense enough to muffle the 
martial strains of the Marseillaise^ as shouted by the 
whole mess. 

Thanaron — ^my Thanaron — ^was in the centre of the 
table, with his curly head out of the transom, — ^not that 
he was by any means a giant, but we were all a little 
cramped between-decks, — and he was leading the chorus 
with a sabre in one hand and the head of the Doctor in 
the other. Without the support of the faculty, he 
would probably not have ended his song of triumph as 
successfully as he ultimately did, when Nature herself 
had fainted from exhaustion. It was the last nicrht in 
port, a few friends from shore had come to dine, and 
black coffee and cognac at a late hour had finished the 
business. 

If there is one thing in this world that astonishes me 
more than another, it is the rapidity with which some 



tro SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS, 

people talk in French. Thanaron's French, when he 
once got Btarted, sounded to me like the well-executed 
trill of a primordonnay and quite as intelligible. The 
joke of it was, that Frenchmen seemed to find no di£B- 
culty in understanding him at his highest speed. On 
the whole, perhaps, this isd astonishes me more than 
the other. 

Dinner was as far over as it could get without begin- 
ning again and calling itself breakfast ; so the party 
broke up in a whirlwind of patriotic songs, and, one by 
one, we dropped our guests over the side of the vessel 
until there was none lefb, and then we waved them a 
thousand adieus, and kept up the last words as long as 
we could catch the faintest syllable of a reply. There 
were streaks of dull red in the east by this time, and 
the outlines of the city were again becoming visible. 
This I dreaded a little ; and, when our boat had re- 
turned and everything was put in shipshape, I delibe- 
rately dropped a tear in the presence of my messmates, 
who were overcome with emotion at the spectacle ; and, 
having all embraced, we went below, where I threw 
myself, with some caution, into my hammock, and slept 
until broad daylight. 

I did not venture on deck again imtil after our first 
breakfast, — an informal one, that set imeasily on the 
table, and seemed inclined to make its escape from one 
side or the other. Of course, we were well under way 
by this time. I was assured of the fact by the reckless 
rolling of the vessel and the strange and unfamiliar 
feeling in my stomach, as though it were some other 
fellow's stomach, and not my own. My legs were a 
trifle uncertain ; my head was queer. Everybody was 



mA TRANSPORT. 171 

rushing everywhere, and doing things that had to be 
undone or done over again in the course of the next ten 
minutes. I resolved to pace the deck, which is probably 
the best thing for a man to do when he goes down to 
the sea in ships, and does business — ^you could hardly 
call it pleasure — on great waters. 

I went up the steep companion-way, and found a 
deck-load of ropes, and the entire crew— dressed in blue 
flannel, with broad collars — skipping about in the most 
fantastic manner. It was like a ballet scene in UAfrir 
caine, and highly diverting — ^for a few minutes I From 
my stronghold on the top stair of the companion-way, I 
cast my eye shoreward. The long coast ran down the 
horizon under a broadside of breakers that threatened 
to engulf the continent ; the air was grey with scatter- 
ing mist ; the sea was much disturbed, and of that ugly 
yellowish-green tint that signifies soundings. Over- 
head, a few sea-birds whirled in disorder, shrieking as 
though their hearts would break. It looked ominous, 
yet I felt it my duty, as an American under the shadow 
of the tricolour, to keep a stiff upper lip, — and I flatter 
myself that I did so. Figuratively speaking, I balanced 
myself in the mouth of the comppnion-way, with a 
bottle of claret in one pocket and a French roll in the 
other, while I brushed the fog from my eyes with the 
sleeve of my monkey-jacket, and exclaimed with the 
bard, " My native land, good-night.** 

It was morning at the time, but I did not seem to 
care much. In fact, time is not of the slightest con- 
sequence on shipboard. So I withdrew to my ham- 
mock, and having climbed into it in safety ended the 
day after a miserable fashion that I have deplored a 



17* SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

tbousand times sinoe, during the prouder moments of 
my life. 

A week passed by — I suppose it was a week, for I 
could reckon only seven days, and seven nights of about 
twice the length of the days — during that interval ; yei 
I should, in the innocence of my heart, have called it a 
month, without a moment's hesitation. We arose late 
in the morning, — those of ua who had a watch below ; 
ate a delightfully long and narrow breakfast, consisting 
of an interminable procession of dishes in single file ; 
paced the deck and canvassed the weather ; went below 
to read, but talked instead ; dined as we had break- 
fasted, only in a far more elaborate and protracted 
manner, while a gentle undercurrent of sideKlishes lent 
interest to the occasion. There was a perpetual stream 
of conversation playing over the table, from the moment 
that heralded the soup until the last drop of black cofiee 
was sopped up with a bit of dry bread. By the time 
we had come to cheese, everybody felt called upon to 
say his say, in the face of everybody else. I alone kept 
my place, and held it because the heaviest English I 
knew fell feebly to the floor before the thunders of those 
five prime Frenchmen, who were flushed with enthusi- 
asm and good wine. I dreamed of home over my 
cigarette, and tried to look as though I were still in- 
terested in life, when, Heaven knows, my face was more 
like a half-obliterated cameo of despair than anything 
human. Thanaron, my foreign afiinity, now and then 
threw me a semi-English nut to cradk, but by the time 
I had recovered myself, — ^it is rather embarrassing to be 
assaulted even in tiie most friendly manner with a batch 
of broken English, — ^by the time I had framed an intel- 



TN A TRANSPORT, 273 

Hgible response, Thanaron was in the heat of a fresh 
argument, and keeping np a running fire of smaU shot 
that nearly floored the mess. 

But there is an end even to a French dinner, and we 
ultimately adjourned to the deck, where, about sunset, 
everybody took his station while the Angelus was said. 
Then twilight, with a subdued kind of skylarking in the 
forecastle, and genteel merriment amidships, while 
Monsieur le Capitaine paced the high quarter-deck with 
the shadow of a smile crouching between the fierce 
jungles of his intensely black side-whiskers. Ah, sir, it 
was something to be at sea in a French transport with 
the tricolour flaunting at the peak ; to have four guns 
with their mouths gagged, and oilcloth capes lashed 
snugly over them ; to see everybody in uniform, each 
having the profoimdest respect for those who ranked a 
notch above him, and having, also, an ill-disguised con- 
tempt for the unlucky fellow beneath him I This spirit 
was observable from one end of the ship to the other, 
and, sirs, we had a little world of our own revolving 
on a wabbUng axis between the staimch ribs of the old 
transport "Chevert." 

We were bound for Tahiti, God willing and the winds 
favourable ; and the common hope of ultimately find- 
ing port in that paradise was all that held us together 
through thick and thin. We might wrangle at dinner, 
and come to breakfast next morning with bitterness in 
our hearts ; we might sink into the bottomless pit of 
despond ; we might revile Monsieur le Capitaine and 
Monsieur le CuisinieVy including in our anathemas the 
elements and some other things ; they (the Frenchmen) 
might laugh to scorn the great American people, — 

18 



274 SUMMER CRUISING M THE SOUTH SEAS. 

and they did it> two or three times- and I, in my 
turn, might feel a secret contempt for Paris, with- 
out having the power to express the same in tolerable 
French, so I felt it, and held my tongue. Even Thana- 
ron gave me a French shrug now and then that sent 
the cold shivers fcough me ; but there was sure to 
come a sunset Kke a sea of fire, at which golden hour 
we were marshalled amidships, and stood with un- 
covered heads and the soft light playing over us, while 
the littlest French boy in the crew said the evening 
prayer with exceeding sweetness, — ^being the youngest, 
he was the most worthy of saying it, — and then we all 
crossed ourselves, and our hearts melted within us. 

There was something in the delicious atmosphere, 
growing warmer every day, and something in the 
dehcious sea, that was beginning to rock her floating 
gardens of blooming weed under our bows, and some- 
thing in the aspect of Monsieur le Capitaine, with, his cap 
off and a shadow of prayer softening his hard, proud 
face, that unmanned us ; so we rushed to our own little 
cabin and hugged one another, lest we should forget how 
when we were restored to our sisters and our sweet- 
hearts, and everything was forgiven and forgotten in 
one intense moment of French remorse. 

Who took me in his arms and carried me the length 
of the cabin in three paces, at the imminent peril of my 
life ? Thanaron I Who admired Thanaron's gush of 
nature, and nearly squeezed the life out of him in the 
vain hope of making their joy known to him ? Every- 
body else in the mess I Who looked on in bewilder^ 
ment, and was half glad and half sorry, though more 
glad than sorry by half, and wondered all the whfle 



m A TRANSPORT. 27$ 

what was coming next? Bless you, it was 1 1 And we kept 
doing that sort of ihing until I got very used to it, and 
by the time we sighted the green sunmiits of Tahiti, my 
range of experience was so great that nothing could 
touch me further. It may not be that we were governed 
by the laws of ordinary seafarers. The " Chevert " was 
shaped a little like a bath-tub, with a bow like a duck's 
breast, and a high, old-fashioned quarter-deck, resembling 
a Chinese junk with a reef in her stem. Forty bold 
sailor-boys, who looked as though they had been built 
on precisely the same model and dealt out to the 
government by the dozen, managed to keep the decks 
very clean and tidy, and the brass-work in a state of 
dazzling brightness. The ship was wonderfully well- 
ordered. I could tell you by the sounds on deck, while 
I swung in the comfortable seclusion of my hammock, 
just the hour of the day or night, but that was after I 
had once learned the order of events. There was the 
Sunday morning inspection, the Wednesday sham naval 
battle, the prayers night and morning, and the order to 
shorten sail each evening. Between times the decks 
were scrubbed and the whole ship renovated; sometimes 
the rigging was darkened with drying clothes, and 
sometimes we felt like ancient mariners, the sea was so 
oily, and the air so hot and still. There was nothing 
stirring save the sea-birds, who paddled about like tame 
ducks, and the faint, thin thread of smoke that 
ascended noiselessly from the dainty rolls of tobacco in 
the fingers of the entire ship's crew. In fact, when we 
moved at all in these calm waters, we seemed to be pro- 
pelled by forty-cigarette power, for tiiere was not a 
breatJi of air stirring. 






276 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS, 

It was at such times that we fought our bloodless 
battles. The hours were ominous ; breakfast did not 
S(»em half a breakfast, because we hurried through it with 
the dreadful knowledge that a conflict was pending, and 
possibly — though not probably — ^we might never gather 
at that board again, for a naval engagement is some- 
thing terrible, and life is uncertain in the fairest weather. 
Breakfast is scarcely over when the alarm is given, and 
with the utmost speed every Frenchman flies to his post- 
Already the horizon is darkened with the Prussian navy, 
yet our confidence in the staunch old "Chevert," in 
each particular soul on board, and in our undaunted 
leader, — Monsieur le Capitaine, who is even now scouring 
the sea with an enormous marine glass that of itself 
is enough to strike terror to the Prussian heart, — our 
implicit confidence in ourselves is such that we smilingly 
await the approach of the doomed fleet. At last they 
come within range of our guns, and the conflict begins. 
I am unfortunately compelled to stay beneath the hatches. 
A sham battle is no sight for an inexperienced landsman 
to witness, and, moreover, I should doubtless get in the 
way of the frantic crew, who seem resolved to shed the 
last drop of French blood in behalf of la belle France. 

Marine engagements are, as a general thing, a great 
bore. The noise is something terrific ; ammunition is 
continually passed up through the transom over our 
dinner-table, and a thousand feet are rushing over the 
deck with a noise as of theatrical thunder. The en- 
gagement lasts for an hour or two. Once or twice we 
are enveloped in sheets of flame. We are speedily 
deluged with water, and the conflict is renewed with 
the greatest enthusiasm. Again, and again, and again^ 



— IN A TRANSPORT, 277 

we pour a broadside into the enemy's fleet, and always 
with terrific effect. We invariably do ourselves the 
greatest credit, for, by the time our supplies are about 
exhausted, not a vestige of the once glorious navy of 
Prussia remains to tell the tale. The sea is, of course, 
blood-stained for miles aroimd. The few persistent 
Prussians who attempt to board us are speedily de- 
spatched, and allowed to drop back into the remorseless 
waves. A shout of triumph rings up from our tri- 
umphant crew, and the play is over. 

Once more the hatches are removed ; once more I 
breathe the sweet air of heaven, for not a grain of 
powder has been burned through all this fearful con- 
flict ; once more my messmates rush into our little 
cabin and regale themselves with copious draughts of 
absinthe, and I am pressed to the proud bosom of 
Thanaron, who is restored to me without a scar to dis- 
figure his handsome little body. I grew used to these 
weekly wars, and before we came in sight of our green 
haven, there was not a Prussian left in the Pacific. It 
is impossible that any nation, though they be schooled 
to hardships, coTild hope to survive such a succession of 
disastrous conflicts. On the whole, I like sham battles ; 
they are deuced exciting, and they don't hurt. 

How different, how very different those sleepy days 
when we were drifting on towards the Marquesas Is- 
lands ! The silvery phaetons darted overhead like day- 
stars shooting from their spheres. The seaweed grew 
denser, and a thousand floating things, — ^broken branches 
with a few small leaves attached, the husk of a cocoa- 
nut, or straws such as any dove from any ark would be 
glad to seize upon, — these gave us ample food for specu- 



JjS SUMMER CRUISIAG IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

lation. "Piloted by the slow, tuiwillmg winds," we 
Game dose to the star-lit Kouka Hiva, and shortened 
sail right under its fragrant shadow. It was a glorious 
night There was the subtile odour of earth in the 
warm, faint air, and before us that impenetrable shadow 
that we knew to be an island, jet whose outlines were 
traceable only by the obliterated stars. 

At sunrise we were on deck, and, looking westward, 
saw the mists melt away like a veil swept from before 
the face of a dusky Venus just rising from the waves. 
The island seemed to give out a kind of magnetic heat 
that made our blood tingk. We gravitated toward it 
with an almost irresistibk impulse. Something had to 
be done before we yielded to the fascinations of this 
savage enchantress. Our course lay to the windward 
of the south-eastern point of the land; but, finding that 
we could not weather it, we went off before the light 
wind and drifted down the northern coast, swinging an 
hour or more under the lee of some parched rocks, eye- 
ing the " Needles," — ^the slender and symmetrical peaks 
so called, — and then we managed to work our way out 
into the open sea again, and were saved. 

Valleys lay here and there, running back from the 
shore with green and inviting vistas ; slim waterfalls 
made one desperate leap from the clouds and buried 
themselves in the forests hundreds of feet below, where 
they were lost for ever. Eain-clouds hung over the 
moimtains, throwing deep shadows across the slopes 
that but for this relief would have been too bright for 
the sentimental beauty that usually identifies a tropical 
island. 

I happened to know something about the place, and 



IN A TRANSPORT. yj^ 

marked every inch of the scorching soil as we floated 
past groves of rosewood, sandal-wood, and a hundred 
sorts of new and strange trees, looking dark and velvety 
in the distance ; past strips of beach that shone like 
brass^ while beyond them the cocoa-palms that towered 
above the low, brown huts of the natives seemed to 
reel and nod in the intense meridian heat. A moist 
cloud, far up the mountain, hung above a serene and 
sacred haunt, and under its shelter was hidden a deep 
valley, whose secret has been carried to the ends of the 
earth ; for Herman Melville has plucked out the heart 
of its mystery, and beautiful and barbarous Typee lies 
naked and forsaken. 

I was rather glad we could not get any nearer to 
it, for fear of dispelling the ideal that has so long 
charmed me. Catching the wind again, late in the 
afternoon, we lost the last outline of Nouka Hiva in the 
soft twilight, and said our prayers that evening as much 
at sea as ever. Back we dropped into the solemn round 
of uneventful days. Even the sham battles no longer 
thrilled us. In fact, the whole affair was a little too 
theatrical to bear frequent repetition. There was but 
one of our mess who could muster an episode whenever 
we became too stagnant for our health's good, and this 
was our first officer, — a tall, slim fellow, with a warlike 
beard, and very soft, dark eyes, whose pupils seemed to 
be floating aimlessly about under the shelter of long 
lashes. His face was in a perpetual dispute with itself, 
and I never knew which was the right or the wrong 

side of him. B was the happy possessor of a tight 

little African, known as Nero, although I always looked 
upon him as so much Jamaica ginger. Nero was as 



S80 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS, 

handsome a specimen of tangible darkness as you will 

sight in a smnmer's croise. B loved with the 

ardour of his vacillating eyes, yet governed with the 
rigour of his beard. Nero was consequently prepared 
for any change in the weather, no matter how sudden 
or uncalled for. In the equatorial seas, while we sailed 
to the measure of the Ancient Mariner, B sum- 
moned Nero to the sacrifice, and, having tortured him 
to the extent of his wits, there was a reconciliation 
more ludicrous than any other scene in the farce. Tt 

was at such moments that B 's eyes literally swam, 

when even his beard wilted, while he told of the thou- 
sand pathetic eras in Nero's Ufe, when he might have 
had his Uberty, but found the service of his master more 
beguiling ; of the adventures by flood and field, where 

B was distinguishing himself, yet at his side, 

through thick and thin, struggled ihe faithful Nero. 
Thus B warmed himself at the fire his own enthu- 
siasm had kindled on the altar of self-love, and every 
moment added to his fervour. It was the yellow fever, 
and the cholera, and the smallpox, that were powerless 
to separate that faithful slave from the agonizing bedside 
of his master. It was shipwreck, and famine, and the 
smallest visible salary, that seemed only to strengthen 
the ties that bound them the one to the other. Death — 

cruel death — alone could separate them ; and B 

took Nero by the throat and kissed him passionately 
upon his sooty cheek, and the floating eyes came to a 
standstill with an expression of virtuous defiance that 
was calculated to put all conventionalities to the blush. 
We were awed by the magnanimity of such conduct, 
imtil we got thoroughly used to it, and then we were 



IN A TRANSPORT. 281 

Simply entertained. We kept looking forward to the 
conclusion of the scene, which usually followed in the 

course of half an hour. B having fondled Nero to 

his heart's content, and Nero having become somewhat 
bored, there was sure to arise some mild disturbance, 

aggravated by both parties, and B , believing he 

had endured as much as any Frenchman and first officer 
is expected to endure without resentment, suddenly 
rises, and, seizing Nero by the short, wiry moss of his 
scalp, kicks him deliberately from the cabin, and re- 
turns to us bursting with indignation. This domestic 
equinox we soon grew fond of, and, having become 
familiar with all its signals of approach, we watched 
with agreeable interest the inevitable climax. It was 
well for Nero that Nature had provided against any 
change of colour in his skin, for he must have borne the 
sensation of his chastisement for some hours, though he 
was unable to give visible expression of it. By-and-by 

came B 's own private birthday. Nothing had been 

said of it at table, and, in fact, nothing elsewhere, that I 
remember ; but Nero, who had survived several of those 
anniversaries, bore it in mind, and our dinner was some- 
thing gorgeous — ^to look at 1 Unhappily, certain neces- 
sary ingredients had been unavoidably omitted in the 
concocting of the dessert, ornamental pastry not being 

set down in our regular bill of fare ; but B ate of 

pies that were built of chips, and of puddings that were 
stufied with sawdust, imtil I feared we should be called 
upon to mourn the loss of a first officer before morning. 
Moreover, B insisted that everything was unsur- 
passed ; and, heaven be thanked ! I believe the pastry 
could easily lay daim to that distinction. At any rate, 



aSa SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

never before or since have I laid teeth to snch a Dead 

Sea dessert. At this point, B naturally called Nero 

to him and thanked him, with moist and truthfol eyes, 
and the ingenuous little Jamaican dropped a couple of 
colourless tears that would easily have passed for any- 
body's anywhere. For this mutual exhibition of senti- 
ment every one of us was duly grateful, and we never » 

afterward scorned B for his eccentricities, since we ' 

knew him to be capable of genuine feeling. Moreover, 
he nearly died of his birthday feast, yet did not once 
complain of the unsuspecting cause of all his woe, who 
was at his side night and day, anticipating all his wishes, 
and deploring the unaccountable misfortunes of his 
master. 

So the winds blew us into the warm south latitudes. 
I was getting restless. Perhaps we had talked ourselves 
out of legitimate topics of conversation, and were forcing 
the social element. It was tedious beyond expression, 
passing day after day within sound of the same voices, 
and being utterly unable to flee into never so small a 
solitude, for there was not an inch of it on board. 
Swinging at night in my hammock between decks, 
wakefully dreaming of the future and of the past, again 
and again I have stolen up on deck, where the watch lay 
in the moonlight, droning their interminable yams and 
smoking their perpetual cigarettes, — for French sailors 
have privileges, and improve them with considerable 
grace. 

It was at such times that the wind sung in the rig- 
ging, with a sound as of a thousand swaying branches 
full of quivering leaves, — -just as the soft gale in the gar- 
den groves suggests pleasant nights at sea, the vibration 



Ihr A TRANSPORT. 283 

of the taut stays, and the rush of waters along the 
smooth sides of the vesseL A ship's rigging is a kind 
of sea-harp, played upon by the four winds of heaven. 

The sails were half in moonlight and half in shadow. 
Every object was well defined, and on the high quarter- 
deck paced Thanaron, his boyish figure looking strangely 
picturesque, for he showed in every motion how deeply 
he felt the responsibility of his office. There was usually 
a faint light in the apartments of Monsieur le Capitaine, 
and I thought of him in his gold lace and dignity, poring 
over a French novel, or cursing the light winds. I used 
to sit upon the neck of a gun, — one of our four dum- 
mies, that were never known to speak louder than a 
whisper, — ^lay my head against the moist bulwarks, and 
listen to the half-savage chants of the Tahitian sailors 
who helped to swell our crew. As we drew down 
toward the enchanted islands they seemed fairly be- 
witched, and it was with the utmost difficulty that they 
could keep their mouths shut until evening, when they 
were sure to begin intoning an epic that usually lasted 
through the watch. Sometimes a fish leaped into the 
moonlight, and came do^vn with a splash ; or a whale 
heaved a great sigh dose to us, and as I looked over the 
bulwarks, I would catch a gUmpse of the old fellow just 
going down, Uke a submerged island. Occasionally a 
flying-fish — a kind of tangible moonbeam — ^fell upon 
deck, and was secured by one of the sailors ; or a bird, 
sailing about with an eye to roosting on one of our 
yards, gave a plaintive, ominous cry, that was echoed in 
falsetto by two or three voices, and rung in with the 
Tahitian cantata of island delights. Even this sort of 
thing lost lis charm after a little. Thanaron could not 



S84 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

speak to me, because Thanaron was officer of the deck 
at that moment, and Thanaron himself had said to me, 
" Order, Monsieur, order is the first law of France I " 
I had always supposed that Heaven had a finger in the 
making of that law, — ^but it is all the same to a French- 
man* 

Most sea-days have a tedious family resemblance, their 
chief characteristic being the almost total absence of any 
distinguishing feature. Fair weather and foul ; sun- 
light, moonlight, and starlight ; moments of confidence ; 
oaths of eternal fidelity; plans for the future long 
enough to crowd a century uncomfortably; relapses, 
rows, recoveries ; then, after many days, the water sub- 
sided, and we saw land at last. 

Land, God bless it I Long, low coral reefs, with a 
strip of garden glorifying them ; rocks towering out of 
the sea, palm-crowned, foam-fringed ; wreaths of verdure 
cast upon the bosom of the ocean, for ever fragrant in 
their imperishable beauty ; and, beyond and above them 
all, gorgeous and glorious Tahiti. 

On the morning of the thirty-third d^,y out, there 
came a revelation to the whole ship's company. A faint 
blue peak was seen struggling with the billows ; pre- 
sently it seemed to get the better of them, growing 
broader and taller, but taking hours to do so. The wind 
was stifl*, and the sea covered with foam ; we rolled 
frightfully all day. Our French dinner lost its identity. 
Soup was out of the question ; we had hard work to 
keep meat and vegetables from total wreck, while we 
hung on to the legs of the table with aU our strength. 
How the old " Chevert " " bucked," that day, as though 
conscious that for months to come she would swing in 



INA TRANSPORT. 285 

still waters by the edge of green pastures, where any 
such conduct would be highly inappropriate. 

Every hour the island grew more and more beautiful, 
as though it were some lovely fruit or flower, swiftly 
and magically coming to maturity. A central peak, 
with a tiara of rocky points, crowns it with majesty, and 
a neighbouring island of great beauty seems its faithful 
attendant, I do not wonder that the crew of the 
" Bounty " mutinied when they were ordered to make 
sail and turn their backs on Tahiti ; nor am I surprised 
that they put the captain and one or two other objec- 
tionable features into a small boat, and advised them to 
continue their voyage if they were anxious to do so : 
but as for them, give them Tahiti, or give them worse 
than death, — ^and, if convenient, give them Tahiti 
straight, and keep all the rest for the next party that 
came along. 

As soon as we were within haQing distance, the pilot 
came out and took us under his wing. We kissed the 
hand of a citizen of the new world, and, for the first 
time since losing sight of the dear California coast, dis- 
missed it from our minds. There was very little wind 
right under the great green mountains, so the frigate 
" Astrea" sent a dozen boats to tow us through the 
opening in the reef to our most welcome anchorage. 
No Doge of Venice ever cruised more majestically than 
we, and our sea-pageant was the sensation of the day. 

" Click-click " went the anchor-chains through the 
hawse-holes, down into a deep, sheltered bowl of the sea, 
whose waters have never yet been ruffled by the storms 
that beat upon the coral wall around it. Along the 
crescent shores trees dropped their yellow leaves into the 



386 SUMMER CRUISWG IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

water, and tried their best to bury the slim canoes drawn 
up among their roots. Bejond ihis barricade of verdure 
the eje caught glimpses of every sort of tropical habita- 
tioQ imaginable, together with the high roofs and pon- 
derous white walls of the French government buildings. 
Hie foliage broke over the little town like a green sea, 
and every possibility of a good view of it was lost in the 
inundation. Above it towered the sublime crest of the 
mountain, with a strip of doud about its middle in true 
savage fashion. Perpetual harvest lay in its lap^ and it 
basked in ihe smile of God. 

TwiUght, fragrant and cool ; a fruity flavour in the 
air, a flower-like tint in sea and sky, the ship's boat 
waiting to convey us shoreward. ... Thanaron, my 

Thanaron, with your arms about my neck, and B 's 

arms about you, and Nero clinging to his master's knees, 
— ^in fact, with everybody felicitating every other body, 
because it was such an evening as descends only upon 
the chosen places of the earth, and because, having com- 
pleted our voyage in safety, we were all literally in a 
transport I 




A PRODIGAL IN TAHITI. 

ET this confession be topped with a vignette 
done in broad, shadowless lines, and few 
of them, — something like this : — 

A little, flyblown room, smelling of garlic; 
I cooling my elbows on the oUy slab of a table (break- 
fast for one), and looking through a window at a glaring, 
whitewashed fence high enough to shut out the universe 
from my point of sight. Yet it hid not all, since it 
brought into relief a panting cock (with one leg in a 
string), which had so strained to compress itself into a 
doubtful inch of shade that its suspended claw clutched 
the air in real agony. 

Having dazzled my eyes with this prospect, I turned 
^rratefuUy to the vanities of life that may be had for two 
francs in Tahiti. Vide bill of fare : One fried egg, like 
the eye of some gigantic Albino ; potatoes hollowed out 
bombshell fashion, primed with liver-sausage, very inge- 
nious and palatable ; the naked corpse of a fowl that 
cared not to live longer, from appearances, yet looked 
not happy in death. 

Item : Wonder if there is a more ghastly spectacle 
than a chicken cooked in the French style; its knees 
drawn up on its breast like an Indian mummy, while 
its blue-black, parboiled, and melancholy visage tearfully 



288 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

snnwys its own unshrouded remains. After a brief 
season of meditation, I said, and I trust I meant it, ^^ I 
thank the Lord for all these blessings." Then I gare 
the corpse of the chicken Christian bnrial under a fold 
of the window curtain, disposed of the fried eye of the 
Albino, and transformed myself into a mortar for the 
time being, taking potato-bombshells according to my 
calibre. 

There was claret all the while and plenty of butterless 
roll, a shaving of cheese, a banana, black coffee and 
cognac, when I turned again to dazzle myself with the 
white fence, and saw with infinite pity, — a sentunent 
perhaps not unmixed with a suspicion of cognac or some 
other temporary humanizing element, — I saw for a fact 
that the poor cock had wilted, and lay flat in the san 
like a last year's duster. Hat was too much for me. 
I wheeled towards the door where gleamed the bay with 
its lovely ridges of light ; canoes drifting over it drevr 
the eye after them irresistibly; I heard the ship-calkers 
on the beach making their monotonous clatter, and the 
drone of the bareheaded fruitsellers squatted in rows 
chatting indolently, with their eyes half shut. I could 
think of nothing but bees humming over their own 
sweet wares. 

About this time a young fellow at the next table, who 
had scarcely a mouthful of English at his command, 
implored me to take beer with him; implying that we 
might, if desirable, become as tight as two bricks. I 
declined, much to his admiration, he regarding my refusal 
as a clear case of moral courage, whereas it arose simply 
and solely from my utter inability to see his treat and 
go him one better. 



A PRODIGAL m TAHITI. 289 

An adult in Tahiti has an eating hour allotted to 
him twice a day, at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. My time being 
up, I returned to the store in an indifferent frame of 
mind, and upon entering the presence of my employer, 
who had arrived a moment before me, I was immedi- 
ately covered with the deep humiliation of servitude, 
and withdrew to an obscure comer, while Monsieur and 
some naval guests took absinthe unblushingly, which 
was, of course, proper enough in them. Call it by what 
name you will, you cannot sweeten serviKty to my 
taste. Then why was I there and in bondage? The 
spirit of adventure that keeps life in us, yet comes near 
to worrying it out of us now and then, lured me with 
my handful of dollars to the Garden of the Pacific. 
** You can easily get work," said some one who had 
been there and didn't want it. If work I must, why 
not better there than here, thought I; and the less 
money I take with me the surer am I to seek that which 
might not attract me under other circumstances. A 
few letters which proved almost valueless ; an abiding 
trust in Providence, afterward somewhat shaken I am 
sorry to state, which convinces me that I can no longer 
hope to travel as a shorn lamb; considerable confidence 
in the good feeling of my fellow-men, together with the 
few dollars above referred to, — comprised my all when 
I set foot on the leaf-strewn and shady beach of Papeete. 

3efore the day was over I saw my case was almost 
hopeless; I was one too many in a very meagre con- 
gregation of foreigners. In a week I was desperate, 
with poverty and disgrace brooding like evil spirits on 
either hand. Every ten minutes some one suggested 
something which was almost immediately suppressed bj 

X9 



290 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

the next man I met, to whom I applied for fariher 
information. Teach, said one : there wasnH a pupil to 
be had in the dominion. Clerkships were ont of ihe 
question likewise. I might keep a store, if I could get 
anything to put in it ; or go farther, as some one sug- 
gested, if I had money enough to get there. I thought 
it wiser to endure the ills I had than fly to others that 
I knew not of. In this state I perambulated the green 
lanes of Papeete, conscious that I was drawing down 
tons of immaterial sympathy from hearts of various 
nationalities, beating to the music of regular salaries in 
hard cash, and the inevitable ringing of their daily 
dinner-bell; and I continued to perambulate under the 
same depressing avalanches for a fortnight or more, — k 
warning to the generation of the inexperienced that 
persists in sowing itself broadcast upon the edges of the 
earth, and learns too late how hard a thing it is to take 
root under the circumstances. 

One gloomy day I was seized in the marketplace and 
led before a French gentleman who offered me a bed 
and bo^rd for such manual compensation as I might be 
able to give him in his office during the usual business 
hours, namely, from daybreak to sometime in the after- 
noon, unless it rained, when business was suspended, 
and I was dropped until fair weather should set that 
little world wagging again. 

I was invited to enter into the bosom of his family, 
in fact, to be one of them, and no single man could ask 
to be more; to sit at Ms table and hope for better days, 
in which diversion he proposed to join me with «dl his 
soul. 

With an emotion of gratitude and a pang at being 



A PRODIGAL m TAHITL 291 

tbus early a subject of cliarity, I began business in 
Papeete, and learned within the hour how sharper than 
most sharps it is to know only your own mother-tongue 
when you're away from home. 

Nightly I walked two hot and dusty miles through 
groves of bread-fruit and colonnades of palms to my 
new master's. I skirted, with loitering steps, a placid 
sea whose crystalline depths sheltered leagues and leagues 
of sun-painted corals, where a myriad fish, dyed like 
the rainbow, sported unceasingly. Springs gushed from 
the mountain, singing their song of joy; the winds sang 
in the dark locks of the sycamore, while the palm- 
boughs clashed like cymbals in rhythmical accompani- 
ment; glad children chanted their choruses, and I alone 
couldn't sing, nor hum, nor whistle, because it doesn't 
pay to work for your board, and settle for little necessi- 
ties out of your own pocket, in any latitude that I ever 
heard of. 

We lived in a grove of ten thousand cocoa-palms 
crowning a hill-slope to the west. How all-sufficient it 
sounds as I write it now, but how little I cared then, 
for many reasons ! My cottage had prior tenants^ who 
disputed possession with me, — ^winged tenants who 
sought admission at every cranny and frequently obtained 
it in spite of me; these were not angels, but hens. My 
cottage had been a granary imtil it got too poor a recep- 
tacle for grains, and a better shelter left it open to the 
barn-fowls until I arrived. They hated me, these hungry 
chickens; they used to sit in rows on the window-sill 
and stare me out of countenance. A wide bedstead, 
corded with thongs, did its best to furnish my apartment. 
An arrow, a very narrow and thin ship's mattress, that 



«9« SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

had been a bed of torture for many a seandck sonl before 
it descended to me ; a flat pillow like a pancake; a 
condemned horse-blanket contributed by a good-natured 
Kanack who raked it from a heap of refuse in the yard, 
together with two sacks of rice, the despair of those 
ht»ns in the window, were all I could boast of. With 
this inventory I strove (6y particular request) to be one 
of those who were comfortable enough in the ch&teau 
adjoining. Summoned peremptorily to dinner, I entered 
a little latticed saloon connected with the chU^teau by a 
covered walk, discovered Monsieur seated at table and 
already served with soup and claret; the remainder of 
the company helped themselves as they best could; and 
I saw plainly enough that the family bosom was so 
crowded already, that I might seek in vain to wedge 
myself into any comer of it, at least until some vacancy 
occurred. 

After dinner, sat on a sack of rice in my room while 
it grew dark and Monsieur received calls; wandered 
down to the beach at the foot of the hill and lay a long 
time on a bed of leaves, while the tide was out and the 
crabs clattered along shore and were very sociable. 
Natives began to kindle their evening fires of cocoanut 
husks ; smoke, sweet as incense, climbed up to the 
plumes of the palm-trees and was lost among the stars. 
Morsels of fish and bread-fruit were ofiered me by the 
untutored savage, who welcomed me to his frugal meal 
and desired that I should at least taste before he broke 
his fast. Canoes shot out from dense, shadowy points, 
fishers standing in the bows with a poised spear in one 
nand ; a blazing palm-branch held aloft in the other 
shed a warm glow of light over their superb nakedness* 



A PRODIGAL IN TAHITI. 293 

Bathed by the sea, in a fresh, cool spring, and returned 
to my little coop, which was illuminated by the glare of 
fifty floating beacons; looking back from the door I 
could see ihe dark outlines of the torch-bearers and 
hear their signal calls above the low growl of the reef a 
half-mile farther out from shore. It was a blessing to 
lie awake in my little room and watch the flicker of 
those fires ; to thin khow Tahiti must look on a cloud- 
less night from some heavenly altitude, — the ocean still 
as death, the procession of fishermen sweeping from 
point to point within the reef, till the island, flooded 
with starlight and torchlight, hes hke a green sea-garden 
in a girdle of flame, 

A shrill bell called me from my bed at dawn. I was 
not unwilling to rise, for half the night I lay hke a saint 
on the tough thongs, having turned over in sleep, 
thereby missing the mattress entirely. Made my toilet 
at a spring on the way into town ; saw a glorious sun- 
rise that was as good as breakfast, and found the whole 
earth and sea and all that in them is singing again 
while I listened and gave thanks for that privilege. At 
ten a.m. I went to breakfast in the small restaurant 
where I have sketched myself at the top of this chro- 
nicle, and whither we may return and begin over again 
if it please you. 

I was about to remark that probably most melancholy 
and homesickness may be cured or alleviated by a 
wholesome meal of victuals ; but I think I won't, for, 
on referring to my note-book, I find that within an 
hour after my return to the store I was as heart-sick as 
ever, and wasn't afraid to say so. It is scarcely to be 
wondered at : the sky was dark ; aboard a schooner 



t94 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

some sailors were making that dolefdl whine peculiar to 
them, as they hauled in to shore and tied up to a tree in 
a sifting rain ; then everything was ominously still as 
though something disagreeable were about to happen ; 
thereupon I doubled myself over the counter like a 
half-shut jack-knife, and burying my face in my hands 
said to myself, " 0, to be alone with Nature 1 her 
silence is religion and her sounds sweet music." After 
which the rain blew over, and I was sent with a hand- 
cart and one underfed Kanack to a wharf half a mile 
away to drag back several loads of potatoes. We two 
hungry creatures struggled heroically to do our duty. 
Starting with a multitude of sacks it was quite impos- 
sible to proceed with, we grew weaker the farther we 
went, so that the load had to be reduced from time to 
time, and I beUeve the amount of potatoes deposited by 
the way considerably exceeded the amount we subse- 
quently arrived at the store with. Finding life a bur- 
den, and seeing the legs of the young fellow in harness 
with me bend under him in his frantic efforts to get our 
cart out of a rut without emptying it entirely, I resolved 
to hire a substitute at my own expense, and save my 
remaining strength for a new Une of business. Thus I 
was enabled to sit on the wharf the rest of the after- 
noon and enjoy myself devising new means of subsist- 
ence and watching the natives swim. 

Some one before me found a modicum of sweets in 
his cup of bitterness, and in a complacent hour set the 
good against the evil in single entry, summing up the 
same to his advantage. I concluded to do it myself, 
and did it thus : — 



■ A PRODIGAL IN TAHITI a9S 

Evil. Good. 

I find myself in a foreign But I may do as I please in 
l^d with no one to love and consequence, and it is nobody's 
none to love me. business save my own. 

I am working for my board But I may quit as soon as I 
and lodging (no extras), and feel like it, and shall have no 
fuid it very unprofitable. occasion to dun my employer 

for back salary so long as I stop 

with him. 

My clothes are in rags. I But the weather is mild and 

shall soon be without a stitch to the fig-tree flourisheth. More- 

xny back. over many a good savage has 

gone naked before me. 

I get hungry before breakfast But fasting is saintly. Day 

and feel faint after dinner, by day I grow more spiritual, 

What are two meals a day to a and shall shortly be a fit subject 

man of my appetite % for translation to that better 

world which is doubtless the 
envy of all those who have lost 
it by over eating and drinking. 

Nothing can exceed the satisfaction with which I 
read and re-read this philosophical sununary, but I had 
relapses every few minutes so long as I lived in Tahiti. 
I remember one Sunday morning, a day I had all to 
myself, when I cried out of ihe depihs and felt better 
after it. It was a real Sunday, The fowls confessed it 
by ihe indifference with which they picked up a grain 
of lice now and then as though they weren't hungry. 
The fiimily were inoving about in an unnatural way ; 
some people are never themselves on the Lord's day. 
The canoes lay asleep off upon the water, evidently con- 
scious of the long hours of rest they were sure of 
having. To sum it all, it seemed as tiiough the cover 
had been taken off from the earth, and the angels were 



J96 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS 

sitting in big circles looking at us. Our dock had mn 
down, and I found mjself half an hour too early at 
mass. Some diminutiye native children talked together 
with infinite gesticulation, like little old men. At every 
lag in the conyersation, two or three of them would 
steal away to the fence that surrounded the church and 
begin diligentiy counting the pickets thereof. They 
were evidentiy amazed at what they considered a sin- 
gular coincidence, namely, that the number of pickets, 
beginning at the firont gate and counting to the right, 
tallied ezactiy with the do. do. beginning at the do. do. 
and counting to the left ; while they were making 
repeated efibrts to get at the heart of tins mystery, the 
priest rode up on horseback, dismounted in our midst, 
and we all followed him into chapel to mass. 

A young Frenchman ofiered me holy-water on the tips 
of his fingers, and I immediately decided to confide in 
him to an unlimited extent if he gave me the oppor- 
tuniiy. It was a serious disappointment when I found 
later, that we didn't know six words in any common 
tongue. Concluded to be independent, and walked off 
by myself. Got very lonesome immediately. Tried to 
be meditative, philosophical, botanical, conchological, 
and in less than an hour gave it up, — ^homesick again, 
by Jove I 

Strolled to the beach and sat a long time on a bit of 
wreck partiy imbedded in the sand ; consoled by the 
surpassing radiance of sunset, wondered how I could 
ever have repined, but proceeded to do it again as soon 
as it grew dark. Some natives drew near, greeting me 
kindly. They were evidentiy lovers; talked in low 
tones, deeply interested in the most trivial things, such 



A PRODIGAL IN TAHITL ^97 

as a leaf falling into the sea at our feet and floating 
st^n up, like a bowsprit; he probably made some poetic 
allusion to it, may have proposed braving the seas with 
her in a shallop as fairy-like, for both fell a-dreaming 
and were silent for some time, he worshipping her with 
fascinated eyes, while she, woman-like, pretended to be 
all unconscious of his admiration. 

Silently we sat looking over the sea at Moorea, just 
visible in the light of the young moon, like a spirit 
brooding upon the waters, till I broke the spell by say- 
ing " Good-night," which was repeated in a chorus as I 
withdrew to my coop and found my feathered guests 
had b€$b.ten in the temporary barricade erected in the 
broken window, entered and made themselves at home 
during my absence, — ^a fact that scarcely endeared the 
spot to me. Next morning I was tmusually merry ; 
couldn't tell why, but tried to sing as I made my toilet 
at the spring; laughed nearly all the way into town, 
saying my prayers, and blessing God, when I came sud- 
denly upon a horse-shoe in the middle of the road. 
Took it as an omen and a keepsake ; horse-shoes aren't 
shed everywhere nor for everybody. I thought it the 
prophecy of a change, and at once cancelled my engage- 
ment with my employer without having set foot into 
his house farther than the dining-room, or made any 
apparent impression upon the adamantine bosom of hb 
family. 

After formally expressing my gratitude to Monsieur 
for his renewed offers of hospitality, I turned myself 
into the street, and was once more adrift in the world. 
For the space of three minutes I was wild with joy at 
the thought of my perfect liberty. Then I grew ner- 



99S SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

vouS) began to feel nnhappy, naj, even gniltj, as 
thougb I had thrown up a good thing. Concluded it 
was rash of me to leave a situation where I got two 
meals and a mattress, with the privilege of washing at 
my own expense. Am not sure that it wasn't unwise, 
for I had no dinner that afternoon ; and having no bed 
either, I crept into the verandah of a house to let, and 
dozed till daybreak. 

There was but one thing to live for now, namely, to 
see as much of Tahiti as possible, and at my earliest 
convenience to return like the prodigal son to that 
father who would doubtless feel like killing something 
appropriate as soon as he saw me coming. I said as 
much to a couple of Frenchmen, brothers, who are 
living a dream-life over yonder, and whose wildest 
species of dissipation for the last seven years has been 
to rise at intervals from their settees in the arbour, go 
deliberately to the farther end of the garden and eat 
several man£:oes in cold blood. 

To comprehend Tahiti, a man must lose himself in 
forests whose resinous boughs are knotted with ribbons 
of sea-grass ; there, overcome by the music of sibilant 
waters sifting through the antlers of the coral, he is 
supposed to sink upon drifts of orange-blossoms only to 
be resuscitated by the spray of an approaching shower 
crashing through the green solitudes like an army with 
chariots, — so those brothers said, with a mango poised 
in each hand ; and they added that I should have an 
official document addressed to the best blood in the 
kingdom, namely. Forty Chiefs of Tahiti, who would 
undoubtedly entertain me with true barbarian hospi- 
tality, better the world knows not. There was a delay 



~ - A PRODIGAL IN TAHITI. 299 

for some reason ; I, rather impatient, and scarcely 
hoping to receive so graceful a compliment from head- 
quarters, trudged on alone with a Ught piirse and an 
infinitesimal bimdle of necessities, caring nothing for 
the weather nor the number of miles cleared per day, 
since I laid no plans save the one to see as much as 
I might with the best grace possible, keeping an eye 
on the road for horse-shoes. Through leagues of ver- 
dure I wandered, feasting my five senses and finding 
life a holiday at last. There were numberless streams 
to be crossed, where I loafed for hours on the bridges, 
satisfying myself with sunshine. Not a savage in the 
land was freer than I. No man could say to me, " Why 
stand ye here idle ? " for I could continue to stand as 
long as I liked and as idly as it pleased me in spite of 
him I There were bridgeless streams to be forded ; but 
the Tahitian is a nomad continually wandering from one 
edge of his fruitful world to the other ; moreover, he is 
the soul of peace towards men of good-will : I was in- 
variably picked up by some bare-backed Hercules, who 
volunteered to take me over the water on his brawny 
brown shoulders, and could have easily taken two like 
me. It was good to be up there while he strode 
through the swift current, for I felt that he was per- 
fectly able to carry me to the ends of the earth without 
stopping, and that sense of reliance helped to reassure 
my faith in humanity. 

As I wandered, from most native houses came the 
invitation to enter and eat. Night after night I found 
my bed in the comer of some dwelling whither I had 
been led by the master of it with imaffected grace. It 
wasn't simply showing me to a spare room, but rather 



joo SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

unrolling the best mat and turning everything to my 
account so long as it pleased me to tarry. Sometimes 
the sea talked in its sleep not a rod from the house ; 
frequently the mosquitoes accepted me as a delicacy 
and did their best to dispose of me. Once I awoke 
with a headache, the air was so dense with the odour 
of orange-blossoms. 

There was frequently a strip of blue bay that ebbej 
and flowed languidly, and had to be lunched with ; or 
a very deep and melodious spring, asking for an in- 
terview, and, I may add, it always got it. I remember 
one miniature castle built in the midst of a grassy 
Venice by the shore. Its moats, shining with gold- 
fish, were spanned with slender bridges , toy fences of 
bamboo enclosed the rarer clumps of foliage ; and there 
was such an air of tranquillity pervading it that I 
thought I must belong there. Something seemed to 
say, ^' Come in." I went in, but left very soon ; the 
place was so fidry-like, I felt as though I were liable 
to step through it and come out on some other side, 
and I wasn't anxious for such a change. 

I ate when I got hungry, a very good sort of a meal, 
consisting usually of a tiny piglet cooked in the native 
fashion, swathed in succulent leaves and laid between 
hot stones till ready for eating ; bread-fruit, like mashed 
potato, but a great deal better ; orange-tea and cocoa' 
milk, surely enough for two or three francs. Took i^ 
sleep whenever sleep came along, resting always till the 
clouds or a shadow from the mountain covered me so as 
to keep (iool and comfortable. Natives passed me with 
salutations. A white man now and then went by barely 
nodding, or more frequently eyeing me with suspicion, 



A PRODIGAL IN TAHITI. 301 

and giving me as miict of his dust as he found con- 
venient. In the wider fellowship of nature, I forswore 
all blood relations, and blushed for those representatives 
of my own colour as I footed it right royally. There- 
fore, I was enabled to scorn the fellow who scorned me 
while he flashed the steel hoofs of his charger in my 
face and dashed on to the village we were both ap- 
proaching with the dusk. 

What a spot it was! A long lane as green as a 
spring meadow, lying between wall-like masses of foli- 
age whose deep arcades were frescoed with blossoms 
and festooned with vines. It seemed a pathway leading 
to infinity, for the blood-red bars of sunset glared at its 
farther end as though Providence had placed them there 
to keep out the unregeneiated. Not a house visible all 
this time, nor a human, though I was in the heart of 
the hamlet. Passing up the turf-cushioned road, I 
beheld, on either hand, through a screen of leaves, a log 
spanning a rivulet that was sofUy singing its monody ; 
at the end of each log the summer-house of some 
Tahitian, who sat in his door smoking complacently. 
It was a picture of still-life with a suggestion of possible 
motion ; a village to put into a greenhouse, water, and 
keep fresh for ever. Let me picture it once more, — 
one mossy street between two babbling brooks, and 
every house thereof set each in its own moated wilder- 
ness. This was Papeali. 

like rows of cages fiill of chirping birds those bamboo 
huts were distributed up and down the street. As I 
walked I knew something would cause me to turn at 
the right time and find a new friend ready to receive 
me, for it always does. So I walked slowly, and without 



JM SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

hesitation or impatience, until I tamed and met him 
coming ont of hig cage, crossing the rill by his log and 
holding ont his hand to me in welcome. Back we went 
together, and I ate and slept there as though it had 
been arranged a thousand years ago ; perhaps it was I 
There was a racket up at tiie farther end of the lane, by 
the chief's house ; songs and nose-flutings upon the 
night air ; moreover, a bonfire, and doubtless much 
nectar, — ^too much, as usual, for I heard such cheers as 
the soul gives when it is careless of consequences, and 
caught a glimpse of the joys of barbarism such as ev^i 
we poor Christians cannot whoUy withstand, but turning 
our backs think we are safe enough. Oommend me to 
him who has known temptation and not shunned it, but 
actually withstood it I 

It was the dance, as ever it is the dance where all the 
aspirations of the soul find expression in the body ; those 
bodies that are incarnate souls, or those souls that are 
spiritualized bodies, inseparable, whatever they are, fi)r 
the time being. The fire glowed fervently ; bananas 
hung out their tattered banners like decorations ; palms 
rustled their silver plumes aloft in the moonli^t ; the 
sea panted on its sandy bed in heavy sleep ; the night- 
blooming cereus opened its waxen chambers and gave 
forth its treasured sweets. Circle after circle of swart 
savage faces were turned upon the flame-lit arena where 
the dancers posed for a moment with their light drapery 
gathered about them and held carelessly in one hand. 
The music again sounded a reiteration of chords caught 
from the birds' treble and the wind's bass ; full and 
resounding syllables, richly poetical, telling of orgies 
and of the mysteries of iiie forit^idden revds in the 



A PRODIGAL IN TAHITI. 303 

charmed valleys of tiie gods, hearing which it were im- 
possible not to be wrought to madness ; and the dancers 
thereat went mad, dancing with infinite gesticulation, 
dancing to whirlwinds of applause till the undulation of 
their bodies was serpentine, and at last in frenzy they 
shrieked with joy, threw off their garments, and were 
naked as the moon. So much for a vision that kept me 
awake till morning, when I plodded on in the damp 
grass and tried to forget it, but couldn't exactly, and 
never have to this hour. Went on and on over more 
bridges spanning still-flowing streams of silver, past 
springs ihat lay Uke great crystals framed in moss 
under dripping, fern-clad cliflfe that the sun never 
reaches. Came at last to a shining, whitewashed fort, 
on an eminence that commands the isthmus connecting 
the two hemispheres of Tahiti, where down I dropped 
into a narrow valley ftdl of wind and discord and a kind 
of dreary neglect that made me sick for any other 
place. More refreshment for the wayfarer, but to be 
paid for by the dish, and therefore Umited. Was obliged 
to hate a noisy fellow with too much bushy black beard 
and a freckled nose, and to hke another who eyed me 
kindly over his absinthe, having first mixed a glass for 
me. A native asked me where I was going ; being 
unable to give any satisfactory answer, he conducted 
me to his canoe, about a mile distant, where he cut a 
saphng for a mast, another for a gaff, twisted, in a few 
moments, a cord of its fibrous bark, rigged a sail of his 
deeping-blanket, and we were shortly wafted onward 
before a hght breeze between the reef and shore. 

Three of us with a buU-pup in the bows dosied imder 
the afternoon sun. He of the paddle awoke now and 



304 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

then to shift saily beat the sea impetaonsly for a few 
seconds, and fell asleep again. Voices roused me 
occasionally, greetings from colonies of indolent 
Kanacks on shore, whose business it was to sit there till 
thej got hungry, kughing weariness to scorn. 

Close upon our larboard-bow lay one of the islands 
that had bewitched me as I passed the shore but a few 
days previous ; under us the measureless gardens of the 
sea unmasked a myriad imperishable blossoms, centuries 
old some of them, but as fair and fresh as though bom 
within the hour. All that afternoon we drifted between 
sea and shore, and beached at sunset in a new land. 
Footsore and weary, I approached a stable from which 
thrice a week stages were despatched to Papeete. 

A modem pilgrim finds his scrip cumbersome if be 
has any, and deems it more profitable to pay his coachr 
man than his cobbler. 

I climbed to my seat by the jolly French driver, who 
was continually chatting with three merry nuns sitting 
just back of us, returning to the convent in Papeete 
after a vacation retreat among the hills. How they 
enjoyed the ride, as three children might! and were 
quite wild with delight at meeting a corpulent jo^^, who 
smiled amiably from his saddle and ofiered to show them 
the interior of the pretty chapel at Faaa (only three a's 
in that word), — ^the very one I grew melancholy in 
when I was a man of business. 

So they hurled themselves madly from the high seat^ 
one after the other, scorning to touch anything so con- 
taminating as a man's hand, though it looked suicidal, 
as the driver and I agreed while the three were at 
prayers by the altar* Whipping up over the road town- 



A PRODIGAL IN TAHITI 305 

ward^ I could almost recognize my own footprints left 
since the time I used to take the dust in my face three 
mornings a week from the wheels of that very vehicle 
as I footed it in to business. Passing the spring, my 
toilet of other days, drawing to the edge of the town, 
we stopped being jolly, and were as proper as befitted 
travellers. We looked over the wall of the convent 
garden as we drove up to the gate, and saw the mother- 
superior hurrying down to us with a cumbersome chair 
for the relief of the nims, but before she reached us 
they had cast themselves to earth again in the face of 
destiny, and there was kissing, crying, and commotion 
as they withdrew under the gateway like so many doves 
seeking shelter. When the gate closed after item, I 
heard them all cooing at once, but the world knows 
nothing further. 

Where would I be dropped? asked the driver. In 
the middle of the street, please you, and take half my 
little whole for your ride, sir I He took it, dropped me 
where we stood, and drove away, I pretending to be 
very muck at my ease. God help me and all poor 
hypocrites ! 

I sought a place of shelter, or rather retirement, for 
the air is balm in that country. There was an old 
house in tiie middle of a grassy lawn in a by-street ; 
two of its rooms were furnished with a few papers and 
books, and certain gentlemen who contribute to its 
support lounge in when they have leisure for reading or 
a chat. I grew to know the place familiarly. I stole 
a night's lodging on its verandah in the shadow of a 
passion-vine ; but, for fear of embarrassing some early 
Ktudent in pursuit of kxipwledge^ I passed the second 

20 



306 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

ni^t on the floor of the dilapidated cook-house^ where 
the ants covered me. I endured the tortures of one 
who hares his bodj to an unceasing shower of sparks ; 
but I survived. 

There was^ in this very cook-house, a sink six feet in 
length and as wide as a coffin; the third night I lay like 
a galvanized corpse with his lid off till a rat sought to 
devour me, when I took to the streets and walked till 
morning. By this time the president of the club, whose 
acquaintance I had the honour of, tendered me the free 
use of any portion of the premises that might not be 
otherwise engaged. With a gleam of hope I began my 
explorations. Up a narrow and winding stair I found 
a spacious lofL It was like a mammoth tent, a solitary 
centre-pole its only ornament. Creeping into it on 
all-fours, I found a fragment of matting, a dry crust, 
and an empty soda bottle, — ^footprints on the sands of 
time. 

" Poor soul I ** I gasped, " where did you come from ? 
What did you come for? Whither, whither, have 
you flown ? " 

I might have added. How did you manage to get 
there ? But the present was so important a considera- 
tion, I had no heart to look beyond it. The next ten 
nights I passed in the silent and airy apartment of my 
anonymous predecessor. Ten nights I crossed the 
nnswept floor that threatened at every step to precipi- 
tate me into the reading-room below. With a faint 
heart and hollow stomach I threw myself upon my 
elbow and strove to sleep. I lay till my heart stopped 
beating, my joints were wooden, and my four limbs 
corky beyond all hope of reanimation. There the 



A PRODIGAL IN TAHITI. 307 

mosquito revelled, and it was a promising place for 
centipedes. 

At either end of the building an open window ad- 
mitted the tip of a banana-leaf ; up their green ribs the 
sprightly mouse careered. I broke the backbones of 
these banana-leaves, though they were the joy of my 
soul and would have adorned the choicest conservatory 
in the land. Day was equally unprofitable to me. My 
best friends said, "Why not return to California?" 
Every one I met invited me to leave the country at my 
earliest convenience. The American consul secured me 
a passage, to be settled for at home, and my career in 
that latitude was evidently at an end. In my super- 
fluous confidence in humaniiy, I had announced myself 
as a correspondent for the press. It was quite necessary 
that I should give some plausible reason for making my 
appearance in Tahiti friendless and poor. Therefore, I 
said plainly, " I am a correspondent, friendless and 
poor," believing that any one would see truth in the 
face of it, with half an eye. " Prove it," said one who 
knew more of the world than I. Then flashed upon me 
the alarming fact that I couldn't prove it, having 
nothing whatever in my possession referring to it in the 
slightest degree. It was a fatal mistake that might 
easily have been avoided, but was too well estabhshed 
to be rectified. 

In my chagrin I looked to the good old Inshop for 
consolation. Approaching the Mission House through 
sunlit cloisters of palms, I was greeted most tenderly. 
I would have gladly taken any amount of holy orders 
for the privilege of ending my troublous days in the 
iw^^t 9eclusioo pf the Mission House. 



3o8 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

As it was, I received a blessing, an antograph, and a 
'^ Ghxl speed " to some other part of creation. Added 
to this I learned how the address to the Forty Chiefs of 
Tahiti in behalf of the foreign traveUer, mj poor self, 
had been despatched to me bj a special courier^ who 
foond me not ; and doubtless the fUea I heard of and 
was for ever missing marked the mardi of that mes- 
senger, mj proxy, in his trimnphal progress. In my 
innocent degradation it was still necessary to nonrish 
the inner man. 

There is a market in Papeete where, under one broad 
roof, threescore hucksters of both sexes congregate long 
before daylight, and while a few candles illumine their 
wares, patiently await custom. A half-dozen coolies 
with an eye to business serve hot coffee and chocolate 
at a dime per cup to any who choose to ask for it. By 
seven a.m. the market is so nearly sold out that only 
the more plentiful fruiis of the country are to be ob- 
tained at any price. A prodigal cannot long survive on 
husks, unless he have coffee to wash them down. I took 
my cup of it, with two spoonfuls of sugar and ants 
dipped out of a cigar-box, and a crust of bread into the 
bargain, sitting on a bench in the market-place, with a 
cooUe and a Kanack on either hand. 

It was not the coffee nor the sugared ants that I gave 
my dime for, but rather the privilege of sitting in the 
midst of men and women who were willing to accept 
me as a friend and helpmate without questioning mj 
ancestry, and any one of whom would go me halves in 
the most disinterested manner. Then there was sure to 
be some superb fellow close at hand, with a sensuous lip 
curled under his nostril^ a glimpse of which gave me 



A PRODIGAL IN TAHITI. 309 

a dime*s worth of satisfaction and more too. Having 
secreted a French roll, five cents, all hot, under my 
coat, and gathered the hananas that would fall in the 
yard so seasonably, I made mj day as brief and com- 
fortable as possible by filling up with water from time 
to time. 

The man who has passed a grimy chop-house, wherein 
a frowzy fellow sat at his cheap spread, without envying 
the frowzy fellow bis cheap spread, caimot truly sympa- 
thize with me. 

The man who has not felt a great hollow in his 
stomach which he found necessary to fill at the first 
fountain he came to, or go over on his beam-ends for 
lack of ballast, cannot fall upon my neck and call me 
brother. 

At daybreak I haunted those street fountains, waiting 
my turn while French cooks filled almost fathomless 
kegs, and coolies filled potbellied jars, and Kanacks 
filled their hollow bamboos that seemed fully a quarter 
of a mile in length. There I meekly made my toilet, 
took my first course of breakfast, rinsed out my hand- 
kerchiefs and stockings, and went my way. The whole 
performance was embarrassing, because I was a novice, 
and a dozen people watched me in curious silence. I 
had also a boot with a suction in the toe ; there is 
dust in Papeete ; while I walked that boot loaded 
and discharged itself in a manner that amazed and 
amused a small mob of little natives who followed 
me in my free exhibition, advertising my shooting-boot 
gratuitously. 

I was altogether shabby in my outward appearance, 
and cannot honestly upbraid any resident of the town for 



3IO SUMMER CRUISING IN THE 90TUH SEAS. 

his neglect of me. I know that I suffered the agonj of 
shame and the pangs of hanger ; but thej were nothing 
to the utter loneliness I felt as I wandered aboat with 
my heart on mj sleeve^ and never a bite from so much 
as a daw. 

Did jou ever question the possibility of a man's 
temporary transformation under certain mental, moral, 
or physical conditions? There are seasons when 
he certainly isn*t what he was, yet may be more 
and better than he has been, if you give him time 
enough. 

I began to think I had either suffered this transform- 
ation or been maliciously misinformed as to my person- 
ality. Was I truly what I represented myself to be, or 
had I been a living deception all my days ? No longer 
able to identify myself as any one in particular, it oc- 
curred to me that it would be well to address a few lines 
to ihe gentleman I had been in the habit of calling 
"father," asking for some particulars concerning his 
absent son. I immediately drew up this document ready 
for mailing : — 

MosQuno Hail, 

Cnrnpira AvxNxn, Pafsti. 

DxAK Snt, — K nondefloript awaits identification al tliis office. 
Answers to liio names at the foot of this p^, beUeves himself 
to be your son, to have been your son, or about to be something 
equally near and dear to you. He can repeat several chapters 
of the New Testament at the shortest notice ; recites most of 
the Catechism and Commandments ; thinks he would recognize 
two sisters and three brothers at sight, and know his mother 
with his eyes shut. 

He likewise confesses to the usual strawberry-mark in fast 
colours. If you will kindly send by return mail a few dollars, he ^ 



A PRODIGAL IN TAHITI. 31 1 

will clothe, feed, and water himself, aUd return immediately to 
those arms whidi, if his memory does not belie him, have more 
than once sheltered his unworthy frame. I have, dear sir^ the 
fortune to be the article above described. 

The six months which would elapse before I could 
hope for an answer would probably have found me past 
all recognition, so I ceased crying to the compassionate 
bowels of Tom, Dick, and Harry, waiting with haggard 
patience the departure of the vessel that was to bear me 
home with a palpable 0. 0. D. tacked on to me. Those 
last hours were brightened by the delicate attentions of 
a few good souls who learned, too late, the shocking state 
of my case. Thanks to them, I slept well thereafter in 
a real bed, and was sure of dinners that wouldn't rattle 
in me like a withered kernel in an old nutshell. 

I had but to walk to the beach, wave my lily hand, 
heavily tanned about that time, when lo ! a boat was 
immediately despatched from the plump little corvette 
"Chevert," where the tricolour waved triumphantly 
from sunrise to sunset, all the year round. 

Such capital French dinners as I had there, such 
oflFers of bed and board and boundless sympathy as were 
made me by those dear fellows who wore the gold lace 
and had a piratical-looking cabin all to themselves, were 
enough to wring a heart that had been nearly wrung 
out in its battle with life in Tahiti. 

No longer I walked the streets as one smitten with 
the plague, or revolved in envious circles about the 
market-place, where I could have got my fill for a half- 
dollar, but had neither the one nor the other. No 
longer I went at daybreak to swell the procession at the 
water-spout, or sat on the shore the picture of despair, 



3ia SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS, 

waiting simrifle, finding H my sole happiness to watch a 
canoe-load of children drifting ont upon the baj, sing- 
ing like a railful of larks ; nor walked solitarily trough 
the night up and down the narrow streets wherein the 
ffendarfne$ had learned to pass me unnoticed, with my 
hat nnder my arm and my heart in my throat. Those 
delidoos moons always seduced me from my natural 
sleep, and I sauntered through the cocoa-groves whose 
boughs glistened like row after row of crystals, whose 
shadows were as mosaics wrought in blocks of silver. 

I used to nod at the low, whitewashed ^^ calabooses " 
fairly steaming in the sun, wherein Herman Melville 
got some chapters of " Omoo." 

Over and over again I tracked the ground of that 
delicious story, saying to the bread-fruit trees that had 
sheltered him, '^ Shelter me also, and whoever shaU 
follow after, so long as your branches quiver in the 
windl" 

reader of "Omoo," think of " Motoo-Otoo," 
actually looking warlike in these sad days, with a row 
of new cannons around its edge, and pyramids of balls 
as big as cocoanuts covering its shady centre. 

Walking alone in those splendid nights I used to hear 

a dry, ominous coughing in the huts of the natives. I 

^elt as though I were treading upon the brinks of half- 

{ dug graves, and I longed to bring a respite to the 

doomed race. 

One windy afternoon we cut our stem hawser in a 
fair wind and sailed out of the harbour ; I felt a sense 
of relief, and moralized for five minutes without stop- 
ping. Then I turned away from all listeners, and saw 
those glorious green peaks growing dim in the distance; 



A PRODIGAL IN TAHITI 3<3 

the douds embraced them in their profound secrecy; 
like a lovely mirage Tahiti floated upon the bosom of 
the sea. Between sea and sky was swallowed up vale, 
garden^ and waterfall ; point after point crowded with 
palms; peak above peak in that eternal crown of beauty; 
and with them the nation of warriors and lovers falling 
like the leaf, but^ unlike it, with no followers in the new 
season* 



THX END 



Printed by Ballantynb, Hanson &* Co 
L<»idon ^ BdtQburgh 




AN AFTERGLOW. 

HERE is a bell in a tower in the middle of 
our Square. At six every morning that 
bell does its best to tip over in delirioiis 
jojf but a dozen strokes with the big tongue 
of it is about all that is ever accomplished. 

I like to be wakened by that bell ; I like to hear it at 
meridian when my day's work is nearly done. It is 
swinging at this very minute, and the iron hammer is 
bumping its head on either side^ wrought with melodious 
fury. 

The voice of it is so like the voice of a certain bell I 
used to hear in a dreamy seaside village off in the 
tropics^ that I have only to dose my eyes and I am over 
tiie seas again where I belong. 

As it rings now, I fancy I am in a great stone house 
with broad verandahs, that stands in the centre of a 
grove of palms ; across a dusty lane lies the churchyard, 
and in tiie midst of the congregation of the departed I 
catch a glimpse of the homely whitewash^ walls of 
the old missionary church. 

As the bell rings out at high noon, the pigeons flutter 
from the eaves of this old church, and saU about, half 
afraid, yet seeming to be a part of the service that is 
renewed from day to day. 



AN AFTERGLOW. %i% 

In spirit I pace again those winding paths ; I meet 
dark faces, that brighten as I greet them ; I hear the 
reef-music blown in from the summer sea; through 
leafy trellises I look into the watery distance, across 
which white sails are wafbed like feathers in an azure 
sky. 

A dry and floating dust, like powdered gold, glorifies 
the air. The vertical sun has driven the shadows to the 
wall, and the dry pods of the tamarind rattle and crackle 
in the intense heat, or perhaps a cocoanut drops sud- 
denly to the grass with a dull thud. 

A vixenish hornet swaggers in at the window, dan- 
gling its legs, the very ghost of an emaciated ballet-girl, 
and pirouettes about my head while I sit statue-like, but 
presently flirts out of the window and is gone. 

Do you think nothing transpires in this comer of the 
world ? The Coolie who brings me my morning cocoa- 
nut, the milk of which I drink from the shell, is just 
now picking up leaves as big as a panama hat out in the 
croquet-ground. Is that a common sight ? 

Were I in Honolulu — the metropolis, you know— . 
from my window I could see as of yore a singularly- 
shaped hill called Punch-bowl, that looms above the 
mass of foliage engulfing the pretty village. This 
Punch-bowl has been empty for ages, so have all the 
craters in that particular island. 

It has baked hard in the sun and is as red as clay, 
though a tinge of green in all its chinks suggests those 
antique bronzes of uncertain origin. Above it roll the 
snow-white trade-wind clouds, those commercial travel- 
lers that rush over us as though they had special business 
elsewhere. Beyond all is the eternally blue sky of the 



316 SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

tropicfl| whioh generally seems so awfullj high and 
hollow, that it makes a fellow lonesome to look at it. 

I like better to picture the narrow street in the 
neighbonrhoody wherein man and beast travel amicably, 
and a disconsolate old kanaka, done up in a shirt or a 
sheet, settles wherever it pleases him, to take about 
three whi£b of tobacco from a stubby, black, brass-bound 
pipe before continuing his journey. 

Over the way there is a small shed, with one of its 
beams hung ftdl of dead-ripe bananas ; on a little 
counter, right under these yellow pouches of creamy 
pulp, lie heaps of native water-melons, looking very 
delicious. A pretty native girl, with an uncombed head, 
but pretty for all that, will sell you her poorest stores 
with a grace that is worth twice tiie money. 

Just beyond my window wave mango boughs heavily 
fruited. There are strange flowers palpitating in the 
sunshine, covered with dust-pollen; flowers whose ances- 
tors have lived and died in Ceylon, Java, Japan, Mada- 
gascar, and all of those far-away lands, that make a 
boy*s mouth water in study hours as he pores over his 
enchanted atlas. 

Sindbad had some rough experiences while he was 
travelling correspondent of the Daily Arabian Nighti; 
but I warrant you there are plenty of us nowadays 
who would risk life and reputation for a tithe of his 
wonderful adventure. 

I hear the tramp of hoofs upon the hard-baked street; 
horsemen and horsewomen dash by, the men sitting limp 
in their saddles like our native Cdifomians, and seeming 
almost a part of the animal, but the women erect and 
bold, astride their horses man-fashion, with an ample 



AN AFTERGLOW. 317 

spread of the knees, that at first strikes the foreigner as 
being novel and a little vulgar, — ^but of course it isn't, 
for having once become accustomed to it, it seems the 
only natural and graceful way of sitting a horse. 

What the down is to the peach so is the last hour of 
sunshine to the tropical day ; it is the finishing touch 
that makes perfect the whole. The bell has just struck 
again, and its reverberating note seems of a colour with 
the picture in my mind — a bell for sunset, the angelus 
that calls me back to the little village that lies half asleep 
over the water. Just fancy a long beach, with the sea 
rushing upon it, and turning a regular summersault, all 
spray and spangles, just before it gets there ; a unique 
lighthouse at the top of the one solitary wharf, where 
the small boats land ; the white spires of two churches 
at the two ends of the town, and a sprinkling of roofs 
and verandahs but half-discovered in the confiision of 
green boughs, — ^that is Lahaina from the anchorage, to 
me the prettiest sight in the Hawaiian kingdom. 

Let us hasten shoreward. Perhaps we wonder if that 
ridge of breakers is to be climbed ; perhaps we look 
with a tinge of superstition into the afiairs of Lahaina, 
wondering if it be really the abode of men in the flesh, 
or but a dream wherein spirits move and have their 
being. 

But we are speedily awakened by the boat-boy. Great 
is the boat-boy of Lahaina I He is amphibious and agile 
and impudent, and altogether comical. He has carried 
all the population of Lahaina, some two or three thou- 
sand, in his boat, first and last. He complacently suns 
himself on that solitary wharf, awaiting a fresh arrival 
and a renewal of business. He poses himself against 



3i8 * SUMMER CRUISING IN THE SOUTH SEAS. 

the whitewash of the wooden ligfathoiue in tremendous 
relief; he recognizes you in spite of yonr week-old 
beard and the dilapidated state of your irayelling suit ; 
he hails you with the utmost cordiality ; it is impossible 
not to brave the sea with him, whether you will or no, 
for he is the embodiment of presuming good-nature, 
and you are as wax under the influence of his beaming 
and persuasive smile. The finger of Time doubles up 
the moment it points toward him ; he is the same yester- 
day, to-day, and in the middle of next week. I can 
lead you to the very boat-boy who collared me ten years 
ago, for he is still lying in wait for me ; and were I there 
in ihe flesh as I am there in the spirit, I should expect 
to fall into his hands within the hour, and would instinc- 
tively surrender whatever jdans I may have cherished 
without a struggle and witlK)ut a murmur. 

At six o'clock this evening the bell will ring again, 
and again I shall be transported; il^n will shadows, 
very long cool shadows, stretch through the little tropical 
village ; at dusk the reef is stiller, and its roar sounds 
faint and far off, and is sometimes lost altogether. The 
pigeons are once more driven from their home in the 
belfry, but they soon return to it, and waltzing about 
on their slender pink legs for a moment, they disappear 
within the shelter of the tower. 

Every one has his easy-chair, smoking, chatting, or 
dreaming ; there is a sudden flush along ihe evening 
sky ; the marsh hens begin to pipe in the rushes ; the 
moths hover about, with big, staring, camehan eyes, 
and dash frantically at the old-fashioned solar-lamp that 
stands on the centre table in the open parlour. 

The night falls suddenly ; the air grows cool and moist ; 



4N AFTERGLOW. 319 

a great golden star sails throngh the sky, leaving a 
wake of fire. Island Home I made sacred with a 
birth and with a death ! haunted with sweet and solemn 
memories I What if thy rocking palm boughs are as 
muffled music and thy reef a dirge? The joy bells 
that have rung in the happy past shall ring again in 
the hopefnl future^ and life grows rosy in the radiance 
of the Afterglow, 



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